Tuesday, October 07, 2008

State Dept. piano recital by North Korean defector

As another “upgrade” of the mental image of a “North Korean defector”, today a North Korean defector gave a piano recital at the State Department, telling assembled diplomats and officials that the ability to freely listen to music from other countries can influence repressed North Koreans' view of the world.

Kim Cheol-Woong, a pseudonym used to protect family members still in North Korea, received standing ovations as he played Frederic Chopin's "Nocturne," the Korean folk song "Arirang" and "Amazing Grace" in the ornate Benjamin Franklin Room, high atop the State Department.

Kim, the son of a prominent North Korean and former first pianist of the State Symphony Orchestra, said the North severely restricts the music people can study, listen to and play. He said he fled his homeland, working in a Chinese timber mill before arriving in South Korea in 2003, so that he could freely express himself.


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