Deutsche Grammophon has signed the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and its music director Myung-Whun Chung to an exclusive contract – something DG’s parent company Universal Classics has described as signalling its ‘growing involvement in the musical life of Asian countries’.
The first release in the deal will be a disc of Debussy and Ravel in August. This will be followed with Mahler Symphonies Nos 1, 2 and 9, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 6, Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition and the Mozart Requiem.
South Korea is among the leading countries in the remarkable growth in music sales seen by much of the region - sales of recorded music (of all genres) grew by 12 per cent there last year, while Seoul itself is home to 18 orchestras; the Seoul Philharmonic was founded in 1948. Costa Pilavachi, Senior Vice President, Classical Artists and Repertoire at Universal Music, said: “Korea – along with China and the other nations of East Asia, such as Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand – is key to the future of classical music”.
Myung-Whun Chung, director of the Seoul Philharmonic since 2005, already has a relationship with Universal Classics having recorded for both DG and Decca with orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw. The Seoul Philharmonic’s composer-in-residence, Unsuk Chin, is also well known in the European music scene, and in 2011 the orchestra will tour to various European festivals, including a date at the Edinburgh International Festival. Myung-Whun Chung said in a statement that he hopes the DG contract “will be a big footing for Seoul Philharmonic to become a world class orchestra”.