Dutoit pushing for inter-Korean youth orchestra

Posted on: July 22, 2011

An Associated Press article published in Friday’s (7/22) Washington Post and other media outlets states, “Philadelphia Orchestra chief conductor Charles Dutoit was a longtime friend of Isang Yun, a composer jailed and then exiled by his native South Korea for visiting the North. Now, 16 years after Yun’s death, the 75-year-old Dutoit is working to realize a dream inspired by his friend: an inter-Korean youth orchestra. The Swiss maestro held talks in North Korea late last month and says cultural officials there support the idea. South Korea says it’s willing to review the plan. Dutoit hopes to hold an inaugural concert on Aug. 15, the anniversary of a then-unified Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. Nearly 60 years after the Korean War ended with a fragile armistice, the two Koreas are technically still at war. Despite the animosity, analysts say both Koreas could find it difficult to reject such an apolitical event organized by a non-Korean, as neither side would want to be blamed for making ties even worse. … Yun, who became a German citizen in 1971, visited North Korea periodically but was never allowed to return to the South. He died in Germany at age 78 in 1995.”

Posted July 22, 2011