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Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra appoints Principal Guest Conductor and Conductor-in-Residence!
Date 2016.09.22 Hits
File [Seoul Philharmonic] Conductors' Bios & SPO Info.pdf


Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra appoints

Thierry Fischer as Principal Guest Conductor

and Markus Stenz as Conductor-in-Residence

Initial Three-Year Agreement to Commence in January 2017

The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (Heung-Sik Choe, President and CEO) is delighted to announce two major new appointments to its artistic leadership. Thierry Fischerhas been appointed Principal Guest Conductor and Markus Stenz Conductor-in-Residence, with effect from the start of the 2017 season. Both conductors were appointed by the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra on the basis of the recommendation of a committee, with its seven members including the Seoul Philharmonic's CEO, musicians from and outside the orchestra, a music critic, a conductor and a music manager.


The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) is one of Asia’s longest-established orchestras, with a history dating back to 1945. Under conductors including JaeDong Jeong, Mark Ermler and most recently Myung-Whun Chung, it has built a strong international profile as South Korea’s flagship orchestra. Its achievements in recent years include award-winning recordings for Deutsche Grammophon and performances at major international venues including Walt Disney Hall, BBC Proms, Beijing NCPA and Grafenegg Festival. These new appointments, which will each run for three years from January 2017, will further strengthen the SPO’s artistic profile, with both artists appearing frequently in the 2017 season. Between them, they will conduct at least 25% of the SPO’s 40 subscription concerts.


The Swiss conductor Thierry Fischer already has a high reputation both in Asia and internationally. Having served both as Chief Conductor and Honorary Guest Conductor of Japan’s Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, he is currently Music Director of the Utah Symphony Orchestra in the USA – a post that will run concurrently with his SPO role. In his first season in Seoul, he will be conducting a wide range of repertoire including works by Haydn, Brahms, Berlioz, Mahler, Shostakovich, Ravel, Berg, Dutilleux and a newly commissioned work by Anders Hillborg, collaborating with soloists including Truls Mørk, Bertrand Chamayou and Viviane Hagner. He will also direct the season’s closing concert – a performance of Bruckner’s Te Deum and of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony involving three major Korean choirs.

Thierry Fischer says:

“I am thrilled to be appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. I first conducted the orchestra in two modern music programs in the Ars Nova series, and I was immediately struck by the very high level of musicianship, the total commitment from the players, and the flexibility of the ensemble.


During his 10-year tenure Maestro Chung built the orchestra up into one of the top orchestras in the world, and I will do my best to uphold his incredible legacy, whilst exploring new directions together with Seoul Philharmonic members, staffs, and Composer-in-Residence Unsuk Chin, all of whom are and will be my close musical partners and with the support of  Maestro Markus Stenz (the SPO's new Conductor-in-Residence). I believe that today’s top orchestras must be able to communicate with audiences through a varied and eclectic repertoire, showing stylistic flexibility and commitment across many different types of music. We can achieve this with innovative and imaginative programming, whilst continuing to work on the quality of sound and interpretation in the great classics. Under Maestro Chung, the SPO gained recognition nationally and internationally as a first-class orchestra, and it is our aim to further develop this strong identity. For that we will need the support of the orchestra’s faithful audience, but will also seek to attract new first-timers to share in our adventure. I hope the Seoul public will be as excited as I am by our first season’s programs and the starry artists we have invited from Korea and across the globe”.


Markus Stenz, a native of Germany, is best-known for his 11-year tenure as principal conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra, Cologne, in which he excelled both in contemporary music and the great German symphonic repertoire. His recent recording of Schoenberg’s Gurreliederwon the 2016 Gramophone Award for Choral Music. His strengths will complement Maestro Fischer’s, and in 2017 he will conduct music by Berlioz, Liszt, Schumann, andBruckner, collaborating with pianist Deszö Ranki and cellist Alban Gerhardt. Markus Stenz says: 

It is an honor and privilege to be associated with the SPO as Conductor in Residence. When performing Mahler together I felt such openness from the orchestra for being flexible and living the music with full heart and mind. The orchestra has a wonderful care for sound and a skillful, vibrant and intense way of playing. I am looking forward to exploring the orchestras refinement and tailoring it to the various eras of music.


About the two new appointments, Choe Heungshik, CEO of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra says:

“We are thrilled that Thierry Fischer and Markus Stenz, two first-class conductors of international stature, have accepted the invitation to work more closely with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. There is no doubt that both will inspire all of us at the SPO to ever greater achievements. We truly look forward to a new chapter of ambitious music-making and creative programming!”

*Attached: Biographies of two conductors & SPO Info.

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