New York Philharmonic plays in North KoreaFebruary 26th, 2008 - 6:30 pm ICT by admin
Pyongyang, Feb 26 (DPA) The New York Philharmonic began an unprecedented concert Tuesday evening in communist, nuclear-armed North Korea. Under the direction of conductor Lorin Maazel, the performance began with the national anthems of both countries and included pieces by Richard Wagner, Antonin Dvorak’s and George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”.
Tuesday’s concert at the East Pyongyang Great Theatre was being telecast live on North Korea’s state-run TV and represented the first important cultural contact between the US and the isolated country.
About 300 people, including the 106 musicians of the orchestra, staff and journalists landed in Pyongyang Monday via Beijing.
Zarin Mehta, the Philharmonic’s president and executive director, told DPA from Beijing that the broadcast in the state-controlled media “is an extraordinary event” as the concert “is not recorded, it’s live, and that’s unheard of here as I am told by Korea experts”.
Members of the oldest symphony orchestra in the US will also conduct master classes for North Korean students and play chamber music with members of the North Korea’s State Symphony Orchestra, according to Mehta.
The two countries do not maintain diplomatic relations and negotiations between the US and North Korea have stalled this year in the long-running stalemate over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.