- 26 September, 2008
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The historic concert in North Korea on February 26, 2008 is the first performing arts production released simultaneously on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.
“Those lucky enough to be present will never forget that historic evening, when people from two long-divided nations were united through the beauty and power of music. By the end of the final encore, both the audience and the musicians onstage stood waving to each other in a new-found spirit of understanding. We are honored and pleased that through this DVD we can share this transformative experience with new audiences for years to come.” -Zarin Mehta, President and Executive Director, New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic’s historic February 2008 trip to Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, at the invitation of its government, was an unprecedented event that garnered worldwide media attention and was broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances series. The concert, which took place on February 26 in the East Pyongyang Grand Theater, was led by the Philharmonic’s Music Director Lorin Maazel and featured music by Wagner, Dvořák, Gershwin, Bizet, and Bernstein-along with the national anthems of both countries.
On September 16, Medici Arts, distributed by Naxos of America, released this remarkable concert on both DVD and Blu-ray disc. This is the first time a performing arts new release has been offered simultaneously in both formats on street-date.
The New York Philharmonic in Pyongyang (Medici Arts 2056948 and BD2056944) includes, in addition to footage of the historic performance, the never before seen documentary film Americans in Pyongyang: The New York Philharmonic Trip to North Korea, directed by Ayelet Heller. Heller’s film features footage of orchestra members giving master classes, as well as other memorable moments from the trip.
“The piccolo played a long, plaintive melody. Cymbals crashed, harp runs flew up, the violins soared. And tears began forming in the eyes of the staid audience … And right there, the Philharmonic had them. The full-throated performance of a piece deeply resonant for both North and South Koreans ended the historic concert in this isolated nation … in triumph.”
-Daniel J. Wakin, The New York Times
National Anthem of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Aegukka
National Anthem of the United States of America The Star-Spangled Banner
Richard Wagner Lohengrin: Prelude to Act III
Antonín Dvořák Symphony No.9 in E minor, From the New World
George Gershwin An American in Paris
Georges Bizet Farandole from L’Arlésienne Suite No.2
Leonard Bernstein Candide: Overture
Documentary: “Americans in Pyongyang”
The New York Philharmonic’s Trip to North Korea
Directed by Ayelet Heller
The New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States and one of the oldest in the world. Lorin Maazel became Music Director in 2002, succeeding Kurt Masur in a distinguished line of 20th-century musical giants that has included Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, and Pierre Boulez; Mahler, Walter, and Toscanini. Since the Orchestra was founded in 1842 it has championed the new music of its time, commissioning or premiering many important works, from Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World (1893) and Gershwin’s An American in Paris (1928) to John Adams’s Pulitzer Prize-winning On the Transmigration of Souls (2002, the CD of which received three Grammy Awards), and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Piano Concerto (2007).
The Philharmonic has long played a leading role in American musical life, and over the last century has become renowned around the globe, having appeared in 420 cities in 58 countries on 5 continents, in capitals such as London and Paris, São Paulo and Buenos Aires, and Hong Kong and Tokyo. Long a media pioneer, the Philharmonic began radio ew York Philharmonic To Perform in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea/4 broadcasts in 1922, and is currently represented by The New York Philharmonic This Week; the program is syndicated nationally 52 weeks per year, streamed on the Orchestra’s Website, nyphil.org, and carried on XM Satellite Radio. In addition, the Orchestra’s concerts are now broadcast throughout Europe on BBC Radio 3. On television, in the 1950s and ’60s the Philharmonic inspired a generation of music lovers through Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts, telecast on CBS; its presence on television has continued with annual appearances on PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center, which began with that series’ inaugural episode in 1976. In 2003 the Philharmonic made television history as the first Orchestra ever to perform live on the Grammy Awards telecast, one of the most-watched television events worldwide.
The New York Philharmonic may be the most recorded orchestra in history, with more than 1,500 authorized releases to its credit, starting with its first pressing in 1917. The Internet has expanded the Orchestra’s reach, and in 2006 the Philharmonic became the first major American orchestra to offer downloadable concerts, recorded live, which are available on the DG Concerts label, exclusively on iTunes.
Lorin Maazel, who has led more than 150 orchestras in more than 5,000 opera and concert performances, became Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in September 2002. His appointment came 60 years after his debut with the Orchestra at Lewisohn Stadium, then the Orchestra’s summer venue. As Music Director he has conducted seven World Premiere-New York Philharmonic Commissions, including the Pulitzer Prize- and Grammy Award-winning On the Transmigration of Souls by John Adams; Stephen Hartke’s Symphony No. 3; and Melinda Wagner’s Trombone Concerto. He has led cycles of works by Brahms and Beethoven, and in 2007 led a Philharmonic festival devoted to Tchaikovsky. He also conducted the Orchestra’s inaugural performances in the DG Concerts series – a groundbreaking initiative to offer downloadable New York Philharmonic concerts exclusively on iTunes.
Mr. Maazel has taken the Orchestra on numerous international tours, including the May 2007 Tour of Europe; the November 2006 visit to Japan and Korea; the June 2006 Tour of Italy, sponsored by Generali; and in autumn 2005, the two-part 75th Anniversary European Tour to thirteen cities in five countries. In addition to the New York Philharmonic, Mr. Maazel is music director of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain, and Italy’s Symphonica Toscanini. He has served as music director of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (1993-2002), and has held positions as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1988-96); general manager and chief conductor of the Vienna Staatsoper (1982-84) – the first American to hold that position; music director of The Cleveland Orchestra (1972-82); and artistic director and chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1965-71).