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North Korean and French orchestras in harmon

North Korean and French orchestras in harmony

North Korean and French orchestras performed a landmark concert on March 14 to create musical harmony between the two.

North Korea’s Unhasu Orchestra and Radio France Philharmonic, under the baton of South Korean conductor Chung Myung-whun, put on a collaborative performance for a packed audience at the Salle Pleyel music hall in Paris.

In the first session, the Unhasu Orchestra performed traditional North Korea music featuring traditional Korean folk instruments such as haegeum and gayageum. With some of the musicians dressed in white jeogori (the upper garment of women’s Hanbok) and flowing pink skirts, the performance proved to be an aural and visual treat.

During the second session, the two orchestras joined together in perfect harmony under the direction of maestro Chung. The finale performance of Korean folk song “Arirang” left the entire audience moved.

“I chose ‘Arirang’ for our program because it is the one song that every Korean knows” said Chung in an interview before the concert.

“We are witnessing a historical moment, one I hope will not be an isolated event,” remarked Radio France Philharmonic’s first violinist Svetlin Roussev. “The fact that we are able to connect with one another through music is very meaningful.”

With all of the 19,000 seats of the concert hall filled, some audience members watched from the stairways.

This joint concert was organized with support from the French Government and Chung himself, who recently made a visit to Pyeongyang. Broadcasted live in France, the performance attracted worldwide interest.

“The significance of this event, as a kind of ‘music diplomacy’ by which North and South can work together for reconciliation through culture, cannot be minimized in the least,” wrote French daily newspaper Le Figaro.

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