N. Korean soprano plans to visit Jeju for joint concert with S. Korean violinist: source


A North Korean soprano plans to visit the southern resort island of Jeju next month for a joint concert with a South Korean violinist as part of a project to promote reconciliation between the two sides, a source familiar with the matter said Sunday.

The North’s singer, Kim Song-mi, agreed to hold the concert with South Korean violinist Won Hyung-joon, chief artistic director of Seoul-based Lindenbaum Music, at the Jeju Arts Center on Dec. 30, according to the source.

Won Hyung-joon (Yonhap)

The agreement was reached in Beijing early this month between the Chosun Arts Exchange Association, a body under the North’s culture ministry, and Lindenbaum Music, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The Seoul government is currently considering whether to approve Kim’s visit, the source said.

The agreement also calls for the two sides to team up to form a South-North Korea youth orchestra and hold concerts in foreign countries, which the source said would be the first-ever global art tour by the two Koreas.

Along with the duo performance, they agreed to hold an art exhibition on the island for about a month from Dec. 30, the source said.

Won, 42, is known for his long-time commitment to improving inter-Korean relations through joint music performances, believing that such endeavors could help build mutual trust between the two countries which have been hostile to each other for decades.

In 2015, he tried in vain to push for a joint concert with North Korean musicians at the Joint Security Area located between the two Koreas. The plan fell apart after the North’s detonation of land mines at the border area that year, which maimed South Korean soldiers.

The Juilliard School graduate and violist launched the annual Lindenbaum Music Festival in 2009 aimed at promoting peace and harmony through music. The festival was held in the Demilitarized Zone that bisects the two Koreas in August last year, even in the throes of heightened tensions due to the North’s nuclear and missile programs.

The North’s soprano Kim is said to represent the North’s Chosun Arts Exchange Association in China. The 33-year-old soprano has issued a total of six solo albums since 2012.

The source said that the agreement with the North calls for taking musicians from the two Koreas to major cities across the world that could include Pyongyang and New York.

“Discussions will be held on the global tour and other details with Jasper Parrott, executive chairman of the globally renowned classical music management company HarrisonParrott, in London next month,” the source added.

South Korea has been pushing to expand cross-border exchanges with the North since President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed in April to bolster inter-Korean exchanges and contacts in various areas. (Yonhap)

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