The Mission and Vision of LAKPO
Los Angeles Korean Philharmonic Orchestra(KPO)’s project mission is consistent with KPO’s long standing mission which is to foster a mutual respect of different cultures, and a meeting of minds through a joint appreciation of music. Recognizing that music is, indeed, the universal language, KPO is committed to bridging the gap and stimulating dialogue between groups of different ethnic backgrounds as well as different generations.
Over the last 43 years, the Korean-American community in the Southland has dramatically transformed and established itself. Korean-Americans are no longer a small bank of Asiatic foreigners living in their enclaves in Los Angeles. The Korean-Americans number over 600,000 in the Southland alone. They boast one of the highest economic and educational achievements among the various ethnic groups.
Along with the relatively rapid assimilation and acclimation that Korean-Americans undergo, accompanies an inherent diminishing of the cultural significance of their homeland. And, as the number of American born Korean-Americans rise, the relevance of the Korean culture fades. At the same time, because the Korean-American community is continuously being infused with new immigrants, there is a varying degree of assimilation to life in America. Thus, it is important that KPO address a number of needs.
They are as follows:
1) to stimulate the musical curiosity and inspire the younger generation;
2) to introduce Western classical music to new immigrants and new listeners;
3) to educate the Korean-American community with music from both South and North Korea; and
4) to help second generation Korean-Americans identify with their cultural roots.
Perhaps, just as important as addressing the audience’s needs, is fulfilling the needs of our local musicians. Although KPO takes pride in its Korean roots, KPO does not restrict participation only to those with Korean roots, but opens membership to all those who display interest in classical music, demonstrate artistic merit and/or hold an appreciation for the Korean heritage. KPO hopes to foster the talents of our younger musicians, to promote a healthy exchange of dialogue between local musicians and musicians from South and North Korea and to allow and encourage both professional and non-professional musicians from KPO and local choirs to collaborate with each other and share techniques and ideas.
KPO has been a representative institution in the cultural life of the Korean-American community for the past 43 years. KPO’s primary aim has been to strive to foster a mutual respect of different cultures, and a meeting of minds through a joint appreciation of music. Recognizing that music is, indeed, the universal language, KPO is committed to bridging the gap and stimulating dialogue between groups of different ethnic backgrounds as well as different generations across and within those ethnic groups. KPO also seeks to provide the City of Los Angeles with a forum to showcase exceptional musical talent, to develop the talents of aspiring musicians and to give musicians the opportunity to collaborate with fellow musicians. The quality of our presentations together with the dedication of the Board of Directors and our community, allow KPO to thrive and develop into legitimate interpreters of both Asian folk and classical, and Western classical music. Under the direction of Maestro Raymond M. Cho, KPO has explored the many aspects of both Asian and Western cultures. KPO is dedicated to identifying and presenting new and different ways to introduce culturally significant works.
The History of LAKPO
KPO was established in 1969 and incorporated in 1993 under the leadership of Maestro Raymond M. Cho. Maestro Cho is the 1991 recipient of the prestigious “Prix de Martell” which honors champions of classical music and is the dean of the Eubanks Conservatory of Music and Arts. Since its inception, KPO has presented two to four concert per year ranging from Asian Folk Music to Western Classical Music including fully staged opera productions. KPO performs regularly at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in the heart of Los Angeles, but have also performed in churches and other venues across Los Angeles and Orange County. The venues include such notable landmarks and concert halls as the Hollywood Bowl, the Wiltern, UCLA Freud Playhouse, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and Spreckels Organ Pavilion at Balboa Park in San Diego.
KPO has presented over 92 concerts featuring some world renowned soloists such as pianist, Ju Hee Suh and violinist, Dong Suk Kang, and choirs from Korea and from our local community. KPO has been invited to perform at functions such as the Inaugural Korean Festival in San Diego, the Annual Korean Festival in Los Angeles and the Easter Sunrise Service at the Hollywood Bowl. KPO has presented innovative concerts such as the “Friendship Concert” which was a joint effort between the Korean-American and African-American communities in the wake of cultural turmoil and civil unrest in Los Angeles during the riots, featuring soloists representing both communities performing music of their respective cultures accompanied by KPO and an 80-member combined choir from both communities. And with coaching in language and diction provided by KPO, the “Night of Korean Lyric Songs” featured two non-Korean vocalists singing Korean Lyric Songs in the Korean language with much acclaim.
Raymond M. Cho, Founder & Emeritus Conductor
The genius behind the activities of the Korean Philharmonic Orchestra and its founder is its director, Raymond M. Cho. Maestro Cho, a flutist by training, received his early musical education in his native country, Seoul, South Korea. As a young man, he was a flutist for the Korean Army Symphony Orchestra. He received both his Bachelor and Master’s Degrees at the California Institute of the Arts. Maestro Cho has taught at the Sherman School of Music as well as in the Compton High School District. Currently, he serves as dean of the Eubanks Conservatory of the Music and Arts in Los Angeles.
He has performed in goodwill concerts throughout Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Formosa, the Philippines, Okinawa and Vietnam. In 1985 and again in 1989, he was invited to China to conduct the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and was appointed the permanent guest conductor of the Shen Zhen Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the Korean Philharmonic Orchestra in the 71st Annual Easter Sunrise Service at the famed Hollywood Bowl. Maestro Cho has performed on television and radio several times throughout his career.
In October 1991, Maestro Cho was awarded the prestigious “Prix de Martell,” whose recipients include such notables as Sir George Solti and Zubin Mehta, and in December 1991, he was recognized by the government of the Republic of South Korea for his outstanding contribution to the Korean-American community in Southern California.