Perhaps you’ve seen a news clip or read an article about New York Philharmonic’s trip to Asia this month. The trip to North Korea, also to perform, was added as an overture to goodwill. Back in December, I wrote a post about the visit. Yesterday I came across a short CNN clip about the significance of this artistic endeavor. The logistics of getting the orchestra to North Korea partly involved talking the South Korean American orchestra members into going there.
Within the clip, there’s footage of the war between the two Koreas and an explanation about what made the orchestra members initially not too thrilled with the trip. They did decide to go after all. As explained, trips like this one are not only about music, they are about diplomacy. The arts (and I’d add sports) are ways for countries to cross the barriers between them. I would agree that having an renowned orchestra play is certainly more appealing than threatening a war.
According to the clip, the North Koreans met all the conditions the New York Philharmonic called for in order to agree to come. The conditions were nothing like one hears rock stars wanting, ie, blue M&Ms only, or some such thing. Conditions had to do with the size of the concert hall, being able to perform what they wanted, and the safety of the Korean American orchestra members. Here’s a link to the clip, plus another link to a news conference clip. As the conductor says, “Music has the power to unite people.” The concert in North Korea is on the 26th.
There are photo essays that chronicle the trip through Asia on the New York Philharmonic’s Web site. It makes me sad I didn’t practice the flute more.