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More fundraising and sponsorship crucial for SPO: Chung Myung-whun

Maestro talks about the importance of on-going support after successful European tour


Following a successful European tour, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra hopes for more fundraising programs and sponsorship, SPO music director Chung Myung-whun and its president Kim Joo-ho said Friday.

“Orchestras in foreign countries have about 30 to 50 fundraising experts working for them,” said Kim. “We are hoping to hire an expert who can manage and organize diverse fundraising programs both in Korea and overseas.”

The orchestra last month toured four European countries ― Austria, the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands ― from Aug. 19-27. According to the SPO, the Grafenegg Music Festival concert in Vienna and Amsterdam Robeco Summer Concerts Festival performance sold out while two of the three concerts at Musikfest Bremen concerts sold out as well. Throughout the tour, SPO received positive reviews from European media, including the Financial Times and musicalcriticism.com.
Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and music director and maestro Chung Myung-whun receive a standing ovation after their performance in the Concertgebouw hall in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on Aug. 19. (Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra)
Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and music director and maestro Chung Myung-whun receive a standing ovation after their performance in the Concertgebouw hall in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on Aug. 19. (Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra)

After the SPO’s performance at the Edinburgh International Festival, the festival director Jonathan Mills approached Chung and asked him if the orchestra could join the festival in the future.

“It’s very rare for a festival director to say such a thing right after a performance,” Chung told reporters. “He asked me if we could perform two programs, instead of one.”

The maestro said he realized through the tour that both recording and international tours must be done for the SPO to develop into a world-class orchestra. “I’ve come to a conclusion that we’ll have to do both international tours and recordings no matter what,” Chung told reporters. “We’ll have to do both in order to be better.”

“It takes three things to build a successful orchestra,” Chung continued. “They are good performers, good conductor, and continued support. As we’ve completed this tour successfully, it’s crucial that our orchestra continues to receive support from various groups and individuals. I can guarantee the quality of our performance as long as the support is there.”

Aside from Hyundai Motor Company, which sponsored SPO’s 2010 and 2011 European tours, many commercial banking groups including Hana Financial Group, Woori Bank, and Woori Financial Group have been supporting the orchestra.

The SPO president Kim said the he was planning to have as much corporate support as possible, regardless of how much each can offer.

“We need resources for superb performers and high quality instruments,” he said. “So we’d like to get as many supporters as possible even though each may only offer a small amount.”

Kim also said though the orchestra has been mostly relying on the support of public organizations and corporations, it will now start looking for individual supporters both in Korea and overseas.

“Many orchestras overseas recruit supporters internationally,” Kim said. “We’ve realized through this tour that now is the time to really start looking into getting individual supporters overseas.”

The orchestra also aims to launch supporting groups overseas, Kim said.

The SPO is scheduled to tour Japan (Tokyo and Fukuoka) and North America (Vancouver, Seattle, Santa Barbara and LA) next year.

“We are planning to tour Europe and China with record label IMG in 2013,” Kim said.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)
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