The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra announced two new appointees to the orchestra’s leadership beginning in 2017 — one of whom is the Utah Symphony music director Thierry Fischer.
Fischer has been appointed as the principal guest conductor, with Markus Stenz appointed as conductor-in-residence, according to a press release from the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Both are three-year appointments to start in January, according to the release.
“I am thrilled to be appointed principal guest conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra,” Fischer stated in the release. “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.”
According to Paul Meecham, president and CEO of Utah Symphony and Utah Opera, the Swiss conductor already had a high reputation both in Asia and internationally when he was appointed; Fischer had served both as chief conductor and honorary guest conductor of Japan’s Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra.
“(The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra) is one of the very best orchestras in Asia, and clearly when he was there he hit it off with them. It complements his primary position, which of course is here,” Meecham said in an interview.
Along with this new position, Fischer will continue his post as director of the Utah Symphony.
“Maybe there will be some opportunities for artistic collaboration. Because it’s an expansion of his conducting career in another part of the world, it’s not competitive at all with what we’re doing (in Utah), but it’s complementary just the same,” Meecham said.
With recent performances at venues such as Walt Disney Hall, BBC Proms, Beijing NCPA and Grafenegg Festival, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra is one of Asia’s longest-established orchestras, with a history dating back to 1945, according to a news release.
In his first season with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Fischer will be conducting a variety of works by Haydn, Brahms, Berlioz, Mahler, Shostakovich, Ravel, Berg, Dutilleux and a newly commissioned work by Anders Hillborg. 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, according to a news release.
“I hope the Seoul public will be as excited as I am by our first season’s programs and the star artists we have invited from Korea and across the globe,” Fischer said.