When music transcends boundaries | art and culture | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Aug 20, 2017-Sunday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

When music transcends boundaries

The New York Philharmonic brings a whiff of East-West bonding in North Korea through a historic concert.

art and culture Updated: Feb 28, 2008 13:49 IST

The New York Philharmonic brought musical diplomacy to the heart of communist North Korea in a historic concert today, playing a programme highlighting American music in the nuclear-armed country that considers the US its mortal enemy.



The Philharmonic, which began with North Korea's national anthem, "Patriotic Song," is the first major American cultural group to perform in the country and brought the largest-ever delegation from the United States to visit its longtime foe.

Factfile



The New York Philharmonic is the oldest active symphony orchestra in the United States, organised during 1842.

Based in New York City, the Philharmonic performs most of its concerts at Avery Fisher Hall and has long been considered one of the finest orchestras in the world.

The orchestra is older than any other American symphonic institution in existence by nearly four decades; its record-setting 14,000th concert was given in December 2004.

Since 2002, the Philharmonic's music director has been Lorin Maazel, whose tenure is scheduled to conclude at the end of the 2008-2009 season.



its record-setting 14,000th concert was given in December 2004.

Since 2002, the Philharmonic's music director has been Lorin Maazel, whose tenure is scheduled to conclude at the end of the 2008-2009 season.



Starting with the 2009-2010 season, Alan Gilbert is scheduled to become the Philharmonic's next music director.

The unprecedented concert represents a warming in relations of the nations that remain locked in negotiations over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programmes.

After performing North Korea's anthem, the Philharmonic followed with the US anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner".

The audience stood during both anthems and held their applause until both had been performed.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il did not appear to be in attendance at the 2,500-seat East Pyongyang Grand Theatre.

Ahead of the performance in the isolated North, music director Lorin Maazel said the orchestra has been a force for change in the past, noting that its 1959 performance in the Soviet Union was part of that country's opening up to the outside world that eventually resulted in the downfall of the regime.

"The Soviets didn't realise that it was a two-edged sword, because by doing so they allowed people from outside the country to interact with their own people, and to have an influence," he told journalists in Pyongyang.

"It was so long lasting that eventually the people in power found themselves out of power".