SEOUL, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) — Maestro Chung Myung-whun has left the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) amid allegations of embezzlement and a police probe into whether his wife slandered the former chief conductor.
On Wednesday, Chung conducted Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the SPO’s final performance of the year, which also happened to be his final gig with the orchestra he’d been with for 10 years.
Chung had warned earlier that Wednesday would be his last day with the orchestra. His letter of resignation came shortly after his wife came under police investigations over allegedly defaming Park Hyun-jung.
Park stepped down as SPO’s chief conductor in December 2014 after a dozen SPO members filed a complaint with the police accusing her of sexually and verbally harassing them.
She was cleared of the charges in August, with the dozen employees booked on charges of defamation. Police also believe Chung’s wife spread anonymous letters accusing Park of mistreating her employees.
Chung has also been under investigation for alleged embezzlement since March.
Those present at Chung’s final concert appeared rather emotional to bid farewell to the maestro. Orchestra members wore a sticker of a dove on their right chest for solidarity. The maestro entered and left to a standing ovation.
After the concert, Chung refused to discuss his feelings about parting with the orchestra.
“I’m proud of SPO’s concert today. I hope they continue to do well,” he told reporters at Seoul Art Center. “Thank you everyone. Good-bye and have a happy New Year’s.”