NY Philharmonic trip to North Korea


Well-Known Member
Nov 5, 2007
This story has made headlines in every major Western news outlet. Here's a link for one. Apparently the North Korean Orchestra has accepted an invitation to play in the U.K., and talks are underway to organize an event in the U.S.

My question is, is this a real step in the right direction? I don't think a concert is going to cause change, but it could be a signal that the climate is ready for change (eg - Metallica playing in Moscow in 1991).

One of the problems I see here, though, is that the concert was performed only for the DPRK's Communist Party elite. It was broadcast on TV, but consider that the country has only 1.2 million televisions and a population of over 23 million.(1)(2) That, plus North Korea's media downplayed the event:

A story on the concert was on page four of the communist party newspaper Rodong Sinmun with a picture of the event. The front page was reserved for news that leader Kim Jong-il had sent congratulatory flowers to the new president of Cuba.

I think there's far more potential for something to happen if/when the North Korean Orchestra goes to the U.K. and maybe the U.S. When the musicians see what Western countries are like, it will be an eye-opening experience.