'An American in Paris' in Pyongyang

Driving home tonight in a heavy, slushy combination of snow and rain, I listened to the news on NPR and marveled that a power outage in Miami was causing people serious discomfort: no electricity= no air conditioning. Hard to picture when I am hesitating about stopping for gas (which I need badly) because I don’t want to stand at the pump and freeze! I did hear a story though that warmed my heart. It was an account from today’s historic concert by the New York Philharmonic in Pyongyang, North Korea. The North Korean audience was so moved by the music that they stood in ovation numerous times during the concert and after the Philharmonic had played its finale, Arirang, a North Korean folk song, the audience applauded madly and began to wave. I’m not sure if it was music director, Lorin Maazel speaking or someone else but the speaker spoke emotionally of the orchestra being so moved by the response that they began to wave back to the audience. What an image! The musicians of the New York Philharmonic crying and waving to an audience who could not understand their language but who were profoundly moved by their art. See a glimpse of the concert here. Kim McElaney

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