Tuesday, February 26, 2008

NY Philharmonic plays in North Korea

The New York Philharmonic orchestra has played a concert in Pyongyang, North Korea, in what is the first American cultural group visit to the country. After the performance the orchestra received a standing ovation. The concert, which was staged at the East Pyongyang Grand theatre, started with the national anthems of both North Korea and the United States before launching into pieces by Wagner and Dvořák. Before playing Gershwin’s An American in Paris, the conductor Lorin Maazel joked that one day someone may write An American in Pyongyang, which was warmly accepted with applause and laughter. The concert ended with several pieces played as an encore including a piece by Brahms, the Candide Overture by Leonard Bernstein and Arirang, a Korean folk song.

The visit has been likened to the Ping Pong politics of the 1970s between the US and China which eventually led to a visit to the country by President Nixon. But with the relationship between the US and North Korea still very tense, it may take more than music to soothe the savage beast [BBC].
CNN carried the entire concert Live which was also broadcast domestically by North Korean TV. Sky News and the BBC carried little of the two hour concert Live, though the BBC did broadcast the concert by way of its website.

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