Musical detente in N. Korea

February 26, 2008
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What to make of the New York Philharmonic’s decision to include a concert in North Korea on its latest musical road trip?

Conductor Lorin Maazel explained:  "Music is a powerful language in which those of us who are humane and intelligent can speak to each other in defiance of political and cultural boundaries.”

On the other hand, as stated at, it’s not often that the political leaders of North Korea are described as “humane.”

So should music rise above world politics? Is the overall positive impact of the Philharmonic’s gig before North Korean elite greater than the negative? Or should music be above such questions?

And what does it say that this visit represents the largest American contingency to visit the country since the end of the Korean War?

Your thoughts?
  • To answer your question, I do think music is above world politics. It is something we all enjoy around the world; and to think that while everyone was listening to the music neither the North Koreans nor the Americans were not trying to kill each other. I believe this is the finest diplomacy we can do. Kudos to whoever planned this exchange. Did you hear that Eric Clapton has been invited to Pyongyang next?

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