The Blog

Musical Diplomacy

In Connecting the Dots on Wednesday, 27 February 2008 at 12:39

Following in the footsteps of the Boston Orchestra’s ground-breaking 1956 tour of the Soviet Union, the New York Philharmonic this week offered a command performance to Pyongyang’s elite. Seeing as North Korea — often called the Hermit Kingdom — remains a relatively closed society in an increasingly global world, press reports about the event provided an important peek behind the DMZ. While The New Yorker covers conductor Lorin Maazel’s attempts to break the language barrier with music, the Wall Street Journal provides a detail-packed account of the trip; The National Review, predictably, criticizes the orchestra’s decision to travel to Pyongyang, while The Washington Post explores earlier attempts to bridge idealogical divides with music (including a performance by Pink Floyd that helpfully came a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall). Still, against all these attempts by well-meaning Westerners to spread democracy around the globe, Foreign Policy asks an important question: Does democracy really make you any happier?

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