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Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra

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Biography

For the past 75 years, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) has played a central role in enriching the cultural lives of Korea’s citizens.

In 2005, the SPO became an independent organization. Under the leadership of the first music director Maestro Myung-Whun Chung, the SPO has widened the repertoire and gained international awareness, and world-renowned Finnish conductor, Osmo Vänskä starts his term as the music director in 2020.

The SPO is taking initiatives for growth and while balancing the artistic and social values by performing over 130 concerts a year

With Thierry Fischer, Principal Guest Conductor, Markus Stenz, Conductor-in-Residence and the world-renowned guest conductors and soloists, the SPO continues to lead the Korean classical music scene. Also, Ian Bostridge (2018), Christian Tetzlaff (2019), Håkan Hardenberger(2020) have been invited as Artist-in-Residence to enrich the orchestra’s artistic excellence and stability.

Apart from traditional concert hall venues, the SPO performs a wide range of public concerts and is deeply involved in the everyday lives of Seoul citizens. Large-scale outdoor concerts such as the Riverside Concert at the side of the Han River, and Korea’s National Liberation Day Concert and the Neighborhood Concerts in hospitals, prisons, local community centers and other diverse places, are all greatly loved by people from all walks of life in the bustling metropolis.

The SPO runs programs for all ages from concerts for kids and ‘Inside Orchestra’to pre-concert lectures for grown-ups. The SPO also provides conducting & orchestra master classes. They are all part of the orchestra's vision to expand its future audience base as well as to develop and nurture young artists on a long-term basis.

In 2010, the orchestra embarked on its first overseas tour to nine cities in Italy, Germany, Czech Republic and Russia. This followed the orchestra's European festival tour in 2011 which included the world-famous Edinburgh International Festival. In 2012, the orchestra won standing ovations and wide acclaim for its North American tour, including their performance at the world renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. In 2013, SPO performed a meaningful concert at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Seoul-Beijing sister cities relationship. In August 2014, the SPO toured to the Turku Music Festival, the Grafenegg Festival, the Merano Music Festival, and to the BBC Proms in Europe where the orchestra received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. In addition, the SPO has established itself as a major Asian orchestra through performances invited by the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo in 2015. In November 2018, the SPO consolidated its status as a world-class orchestra, through touring in Paris and Lucerne.

SPO also became the first Asian orchestra to sign an exclusive worldwide contract with the Deutsche Grammophon label for two CD releases annually in a total span of five years. A total of nine albums have been released.