Myung-Whun ChungPrincipal Guest Conductor
Since the 2012/2013 season, Myung-Whun Chung has been the first artist in the history of the Staatskapelle to hold the title of Principal Guest Conductor, confirming the close relationship between the South Korean maestro and the Staatskapelle. Since November 2001 he has conducted many symphony concerts in the Semperoper as well as a new production of Verdi’s »Don Carlo«. In addition, he has accompanied the orchestra on tours through Europe, to the USA and Asia.
Alongside his work on the conductor’s rostrum, Myung-Whun Chung frequently performs as a chamber musician with Kapelle players, for example at the Salzburg Easter Festival in 2013 when he wore two musical hats as conductor and chamber musician, or most recently in September 2020 in Schubert’s »Trout Quintet« at the Semperoper. In previous seasons in Dresden, Chung has explored the oeuvre of Gustav Mahler, conducting performances of the Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 4 to 6 and 9 in the Semperoper. He has also conducted works by Gioachino Rossini, Gabriel Fauré, Olivier Messiaen, Johannes Brahms and Antonín Dvořák at Staatskapelle concerts.
Born in Seoul, Myung-Whun Chung began his career as a pianist, in 1974 taking 2nd prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. He launched his conducting activities as an assistant to Carlo Maria Giulini in Los Angeles, and later
directed the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Opéra Bastille in Paris and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. For 15 years he was Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Over the years he has contributed greatly to the musical life of his home country in various functions. For example, he was Artistic Director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the Asia Philharmonic Orchestra, an ensemble which brings together Asian musicians from leading orchestras for special concert projects. Furthermore, he is Conductor Laureate of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. During his career Myung-Whun Chung has collaborated with all the world’s great orchestras. His catalogue of CDs with Deutsche Grammophon features many prize-winning recordings.
In addition to his musical activities, he is highly committed to various humanitarian and ecological causes. He was an Ambassador of the UN Drug Control Programme and in 1995 was honoured as UNESCO’s »Man of the Year«. In 1996 he received the Kumkuan, the highest cultural award of South Korea. He has been appointed the first Cultural Ambassador of his country, and in 2008 became a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, the first conductor to hold this position.