Seoul Motet Choir is having its 117th regular concert titled, “Songs of Consolation” at Lotte Concert Hall in Seoul on June 4. The setlist is filled with French composer Gabriel Urbain Fauré’s works, including Requiem, Pavane, Cantique de Jean Racine, Elegie, which will be performed with cellist Yang Sung-won, and Après un rêve.
Seoul Motet Choir, which celebrates its 32nd anniversary of foundation this year as a private choir, had its 116th concert, titled “Christmas Oratorio by Bach” in December 2019. The 117th concert is being held in one and a half years.
The “Songs of Consolation” was what the choir needed for themselves. “As a choir run by a private group, we paid a small salary to the choir members. But the survival of the choir has become uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So the choir members had to be placed on unpaid leave, only maintaining the four major insurances. The situation is heartbreaking because the members are better off receiving unemployment benefits.”
Park Chi-yong, the head of the choir, said he was jealous to see Germany’s system, where the support measure for artists was announced by the German chancellor first thing after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. “In Korea, support measures for artists are focused on one-off events and projects,” Park said. “So government support for private organizations that have made consistent achievements remains poor. A long-term support for artists will develop long-term competitiveness in the cultural sector.”