Maestro Chung arrives in Pyongyang

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Maestro Chung arrives in Pyongyang

BEIJING - A renowned South Korean orchestra conductor arrived in the North Korean capital on Monday, the North’s media reported, on a trip he said is aimed at promoting cultural exchange between the two countries.

The Korean Central News Agency reported the arrival of Chung Myung-whun in Pyongyang in a one-sentence dispatch. The report gave no other details, such as the reason or length of his trip.

Traveling from Beijing with two senior Seoul orchestra officials, Chung, who leads the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and doubles as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, told reporters in Beijing, “I am very pleased to visit North Korea and hope to meet North Korean musicians.”

“As an individual and a musician, I hope the two Koreas can get closer to each other more naturally,” he said.

Chung is expected to discuss a variety of cultural exchange programs with North Korean officials.

His visit comes as Seoul moves to improve ties with Pyongyang. Last week, the Ministry of Unification, which handles inter-Korean relations, allowed a Buddhist delegation to visit Pyongyang for a joint Buddhist service.

The 59-year-old Chung earlier had said in Seoul that he believes inter-Korean art projects could help ease strained ties.

“I hope this visit can lead to the creation of some solid projects,” he added.

In 2006, the world-famous musician was invited to participate in a peace concert in North Korea as a conductor, but the concert was called off after the communist state conducted a nuclear test.

Relations between the two Koreas have been tense since President Lee Myung-bak took office in early 2008 with a pledge to link aid to the impoverished neighbor to progress in efforts to end its nuclear programs. The already frayed ties plunged to their lowest level in decades after the North’s two deadly attacks on the South last year, including the torpedoing of the Cheonan in March and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November. Yonhap

한글 관련 기사 [연합뉴스]

지휘자 정명훈, 평양 도착

정명훈 서울시향 예술감독 겸 유니세프 친선대사가 추석인 12일 평양에 도착했다.

조선중앙통신은 "서울시립교향악단 음악감독 정명훈과 일행이 12일 평양에 도착했다"고 밝혔으나 구체적인 방북 목적과 일정 등에 대해서는 언급하지 않았다.

정 감독은 북한 조선예술교류협회와 어린이를 대상으로 한 음악교육과 교향악단 교환연주 등을 논의하기 위해 방북했으며 15일까지 평양에 머무를 예정이다.

정 감독은 이날 오후 1시20분(한국시각 오후 2시20분) 중국 베이징(北京) 서우두(首都) 공항을 통해 북한으로 출발하기에 앞서 취재진에게 "처음 북한에 가게 돼 기분이 매우 좋으며 북한에 가서 음악가들을 만나고 싶다"며 "한 명의 인간이자 음악가로서 더 자연스럽게 남북한이 가까워졌으면 하는 바람을 갖고 있다"고 말했다.

이번 방북에는 김주호 서울시향 대표이사 등 2명이 동행했다.

정 감독은 지난 2006년 평양에서 열린 '윤이상 평화음악축전 2006'에 참가해 북한의 평양 윤이상관현악단과 함께 베토벤의 교향곡 제5번 '운명' 등을 연주할 예정이었으나 공연 직전 북한의 핵실험으로 무산됐다.

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