Philharmonic Wows North Korea

New York orchestra wins ovation after landmark performance
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2008 7:16 AM CST
Philharmonic Wows North Korea
North Korean ushers peer into the concert hall before the start of a performance by the New York Philharmonic in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)   (Associated Press)

The New York Philharmonic received a huge ovation in Pyongyang tonight after a concert that marked the first thaw in cultural relations between the US and North Korea in 50 years. The performance—which included the countries' national anthems, a Korean folk song, and works by Gershwin, Dvorak, Wagner, and Leonard Bernstein—was broadcast on state media and around the world, reports AFP.

Introducing the Gershwin piece, conductor Lorin Maazel told the audience, "It is called 'An American in Paris.' Someday an American may write a work called 'Americans in Pyongyang.'" The US State Department supported the concert even though Washington and Pyongyang technically remain at war. Maazel said that the concert allows North Koreans to see that Americans "care about the arts" and "don't have fangs." (Read more New York Philharmonic stories.)

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