New York Phil gets muted reaction in North Korea media

Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:51am EST
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By Jon Herskovitz

PYONGYANG (Reuters) - The unprecedented concert of the New York Philharmonic made the world's front pages on Wednesday, but in North Korea merited only brief mention in the main communist daily.

North Koreans, more used to music that extols the virtues of their leaders, gave a standing ovation to the performance by the oldest U.S. orchestra on Tuesday night in a concert both sides had said they hoped would ease tension between the long-time Cold War foes.

Many musicians spent their final day in Pyongyang watching North Korean school children do song and dance numbers that praised the fatherly love of the North's eternal president Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il.

A story on the concert was on page four of the communist party newspaper Rodong Sinmun with a picture of the event. The front page was reserved for news that leader Kim Jong-il had sent congratulatory flowers to the new president of Cuba.

The newspaper report on the concert was heavy on who among the North's elite attended and called the concert "very sophisticated and sensitive."


Members of the Philharmonic were still giddy from the concert as they boarded a chartered 747 jumbo jet with international journalists, U.S. officials and supporters that took them on a flight of about 50 minutes to Seoul.

"I don't think I could ever say that we have been moved so deeply by the response and the feeling coming from audience. It is beyond what we ever expected," said bass player John Deak.   Continued...

<p>Members of the New York Philharmonic wave to the audience after finishing their concert at the Grand Theatre in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, February 26, 2008. REUTERS/David Gray</p>