Myung-Whun Chung began his musical career as a pianist, making his debut at the age of seven. In 1974 he won the second prize at the Tchaikovsky piano competition in Moscow. After his musical studies at the Mannes School and at the Juilliard School in New York, he became Carlo Maria Giulini’s assistant in 1979 at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and two years later he was named Associate Conductor.
He was Music Director of the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1984 to 1990, Principal Guest Conductor of the Teatro Comunale of Florence from 1987 to 1992, Music Director of the Opéra de Paris-Bastille from 1989 to 1994 and Principal Conductor at the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome from 1997 to 2005. In 1995, Myung-Whun Chung founds the Asia Philharmonic, an orchestra made up of the best musicians from 8 Asian countries. In 2005, he was appointed Music Director of the Seoul Philarmonic Orchestra. He has been Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France since 2000.
Myung-Whun Chung has conducted virtually all the world’s leading orchestras, including the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw, all the major London and Parisian Orchestras, Filharmonica della Scala, Bayerisch Rundfunk, Dresden Staatskapelle, Boston and Chicago Symphony, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras.
As a recording artist for Deutsche Grammophon many of his numerous recordings have won international prizes and awards. He has been the recipient of honours and prizes for his artistic work, including the Premio Abbiati and the Arturo Toscanini prize in Italy and the Légion d’Honneur (1992) in France; in 1991, the Association of French Theatres and Music Critics named him “Artist of the year” and in 1995 and 2002 he won the prize “Victoire de la Musique”.
Deeply sensitive to humanitarian and ecological problems of our age, Myung-Whun Chung has devoted an important part of his life to these causes. He served as Ambassador for the Drug Control Program at the United Nations (UNDCP); in 1995, he was named “Man of the year” by UNESCO and. In 1996, he received the “Kumkuan”, the highest cultural award of the Korean government for his contribution to Korean musical life. Chung now serves as Honorary Cultural Ambassador for Korea, the first in the Korean government’s history.
Myung-Whun Chung and the musicians of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France were nominated Ambassadors for UNICEF in September 2007. In April 2008 Myung Whun Chung was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, as an acknowledgement of his commitment to children‘s issue.
In 2011, he has been appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Dresden Staatskapelle. In June 2011, Myung-Whun Chung has been appointed « Commandeur dans l’ordre des Arts et Lettres » by the French Minister of Culture, Frédéric Mitterrand.
In March 2012, for the first time, Myung-Whun Chung gets together the Unhasu Orchestra of North Korea and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in a joint concert at the Salle Pleyel, Paris.