Thursday, September 15, 2011

ASIA: KOREA: UNITING NORTH AND SOUTH WITH MUSIC

ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
Chung Myung-whun, the music director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and UNICEF goodwill ambassador, has landed in Pyongyang for a number of musical events. He hopes to bridge the gap between the two Koreas.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – “As a human being and musician, I would like to see North Korea and South Korea moving closer to one another in a more natural way,” said Chung Myung-whun, left Beijing’s Shoudu Airport for Pyongyang and his first visit to North Korea where he hopes to serves as a bridge for dialogue through art.

“It would be great if the current situation [on the Korean Peninsula] changed through music,” Chung said, adding that he also hoped that some good projects would come from his visit, like holding inter-Korean exchange recitals.

“I hope this will also be a good opportunity to teach music to North Korean children,” Chung explained.

North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Chung and his party arrived in Pyongyang on Monday, but did not refer to the specific goals or itinerary of his visit.

Chung requested permission to visit North Korea from South Korea’s Ministry of Unification in the name of “cultural exchange”.

In 2006, he was supposed to attend the Isang Yun Peace Festival in Pyongyang to conduct the Isang Yun Ensemble in a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, but the visit was cancelled just before the performance due to a nuclear test by North Korea.

Chung has frequently stated that after music, unification is the thing he most desires.

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