Western culture meets Pyongyang

An article in yesterday’s New York Times neatly dove-tails with Neil’s Infiltrating North Korea post on Arts and Culture. This coming February the New York Philharmonic will be performing in Pyongyang. North Korea invited them. Perhaps Neil’s visit so impressed the higher ups, i.e., “Who is that incredibly tall American who takes pictures of food and traffic women? He’s so polite, so charming, so interesting. Are there more like him?” that they decided to bring in more. Probably not, but it’s a thought.

The Philharmonic’s visit is no small feat. It’s more than just getting a large group of people with their instruments on an airplane. This is diplomacy at work. Despite the differences countries have politically, it’s hopeful that all will work out if the artists among us have the chance to share their talents around the globe. While the New York Philharmonic is in Pyongyang for their concerts February 26, 2008, they’ll also meet with conservatory students to give instruction. What a fascinating opportunity for both sides. Neil would probably vouch for that.