January 28, 2008

North Korean Symphony to Play in Britain

News from London: "The North Korea State Symphony Orchestra is to play two concerts in Britain, including one in the city [Middlesbrough] where the country's football team was based at the 1966 World Cup."

In addition to the planned NY Philharmonic's concert in North Korea, music seems to play an increasing part in promoting reconciliation and cross-cultural understanding between once-hostile nations. Britain was one of the first few Western nations which fought in the Korean War to normalize relations with the DPRK (in 2000) and maintains an embassy in Pyongyang. North Korean orchestra's unprecedented overseas concert in England was organized by Suzannah Clarke, an opera singer who in 2003 became the first British singer to perform in Pyongyang. She is from Middlesbrough -- the city that hosted the North Korean World Cup team in 1966 (the team's feat and relationship with the city were documented in Daniel Gorden's The Games of Their Lives).

[Photo: Hamhung Theatre, the largest in North Korea]

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