Violinist hopes for a classical concert on the border between North and South Korea

Posted on: July 6, 2015

“Violinist Won Hyung Joon wants to bring North and South Korean musicians together next month to perform on each side of the world’s most heavily armed border,” reports Hyung-Jin Kim in a Monday (7/6) Associated Press article that has been widely picked up. “Standing in the way is the rivals’ long, frustrating inability to move past their painful shared history. Won says North Korean diplomats in Berlin have tentatively signed off on a plan for … German conductor [Christoph Poppen] to lead a 70-member South Korean orchestra through Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the Korean folk tune ‘Arirang’ while accompanied by a choir of 70 North Koreans just across the border on Aug. 15, the 70th anniversary of the 1945 liberation of a single Korea from Japan’s 35-year colonial rule.… Won, executive director of Seoul-based Lindenbaum Music, said the concert idea was inspired by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.… ‘With a project of this magnitude, there really is no easy or ideal time,’ said violinist David Kim, concertmaster at the Philadelphia Orchestra and a member of Won’s team. ‘But music itself is not complicated at all—it touches and softens people’s hearts.’ ”

Posted July 6, 2015