March 14 - North Korean musicians form rare team with South Korean maestro for orchestra concert in Paris. Mirja Mey reports.
These musicians are rehearsing for a truly memorable concert. All 90 are from North Korea's Unhasu Orchestra and they're teaming up with renowned South Korean conductor Chung Myung-Whun for the joint concert with the French Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra . The head of the North Korean delegation, Hyok Bong Kwon, describes the event as historic. SOUNDBITE Hyok Bong Kwon, Head of North Korean delegation, saying (Korean): "It's a historic event because it's the first time that musicians from the People's Democratic Republic of Korea and from the French Republic have come together like this to put on a joint concert. I think that this will contribute hugely to relations between our two countries and our two peoples." Conductor Chung, who leads both the French orchestra and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra made his first trip to North Korea last autumn to organise the concert. He says the concert has no political message. SOUNDBITE Chung Myung-Whun, South Korean conductor, saying (English): "This is something that one has to understand, we don't consider we are two countries. It's one country and one family which has been forcibly divided for political reasons but it has gone (been) so long. But one should understand that I have not yet met one single Korean, either North or South who doesn't wish that either we should be reunited or at the very least, have friendly relations." Chung said he had waited all his life to see North and South Korea meet. This concert finally makes it happen. SOUNDBITE Chung Myung-Whun, South Korean conductor, saying (English): "This music, what we call classical music, is particularly significant because the depth and the meaning that this music has and the history, so this music can more easily overcome any political borders." Wednesday's concert will feature Brahms' first symphony, chosen instead of the Beethoven's ninth, which conductor Chung said was more political. Mirja Mey, Reuters