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New York Philharmonic to Perform in Pyongyang

Posted December. 11, 2007 03:09,   


The New York Times (NYT) reported on Monday that the New York Philharmonic plans to visit Pyongyang in February next year, and it will make an official announcement at a press conference soon.

In an interview with the NYT, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, who has just been to North Korea, said he believed that the conditions sought by the New York Philharmonic had been met. The concert is planned for February 26 after the Philharmonic’s trip in Beijing.

The conditions include the presence of foreign journalists; a nationwide broadcast to ensure that not just a small elite group would hear the concert; an assurance that the eight Philharmonic members of Korean origin would not encounter difficulties; and that the orchestra could play “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States. As Mr. Hill said the conditions were met, the national anthem of America will be played at the Pyongyang Theater soon for the first time in history.

According to the NYT, a plane that can carry many large instruments and correspondents had to be found, and Asiana Airlines, a South Korean carrier, offered such a plane. Also needed are climate-controlled trucks to transport instruments to and from the airport. One possibility to handle this is arranging for South Korean trucks to be driven across the border.

But the article points out that the North Korean government can be unpredictable, and there is always the possibility that the visit could be derailed.