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Korean, French orchestras to hold joint performance in Paris

2012/02/21 | 261 views |  | Permalink | Source

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Renowned Korean conductor Chung Myung-whun said Tuesday the French orchestra that he leads will have a joint performance with a North Korean orchestra in Paris next month.

"North Korea's Unhasu Orchestra and the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Brahms' symphony No. 1 together at the Salle Pleyel theater in Paris on March 14 at the invitation of the French side", Chung told a news conference in Seoul.

He said the decision was made during his meeting with North Korean musicians early this week on the sidelines of his Asian performance tour in Beijing.

The meeting, however, failed to arrange a much anticipated joint orchestra performance between the two Koreas, according to Chung who doubles as conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

During the meeting, the maestro said he proposed a joint performance between the Seoul metropolitan orchestra and the North's Unhasu, but the North turned down the proposal citing "frosty political relations" with the South.

Still, the planned performance is meaningful in that it involves musicians of three nations - the two Koreas and France -- because five members of the French ensemble double as members of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and Chung will conduct.

"I cannot stage a joint performance between the two Koreas' orchestras right now because of the political tensions but understand the March 14 performance as the first step toward that goal. Many other projects are already under discussion", he said, without giving details of the projects.

There was much anticipation for what could have been the first joint orchestra performance between the two Koreas. The maestro said last week there would be good news regarding prospects for the performance.

The two Koreas' philharmonic orchestras held a joint concert in Seoul in August 2000, two months after a landmark summit between their leaders. In 2002, the two Koreas again held another joint concert in Pyongyang.

In September, Chung, who also doubles as a UNICEF "goodwill ambassador", traveled to the North, where he agreed with North Korean musicians to push for regular performances of a joint symphony orchestra of the two countries.

Tuesday's announcement comes amid lingering tensions between the two Koreas over the North's two deadly attacks on the South in 2010.

The North recently urged South Korea to offer an apology over its response to the December death of former leader Kim Jong-il as a key condition for resuming stalled bilateral talks.

South Korea expressed sympathy to the people of North Korea over Kim's death, but did not send an official mourning delegation to Pyongyang. Seoul only approved a condolence trip by private delegations.

The South has expressed regret over what it sees is the North's latest propaganda campaign.

South Korea has proposed holding two separate meetings with North Korea to discuss family member reunions and joint pest control near ancient tombs in the isolated country, which the North rejected. (Yonhap)

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