December 06, 2023

Pyongyang diary: A cellist’s personal account of music diplomacy to North Korea

Carter Brey of the New York Philharmonic shares his behind-the-scenes story of a historic concert in the DPRK

North Korean state media recently revealed that former U.S. President Donald Trump gave DPRK leader Kim Jong an unusual gift at their 2018 summit in Singapore — sheet music from a concert by a prestigious American orchestra in Pyongyang.

The gift underlines how the historic performance by the New York Philharmonic at the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre continues to reverberate today, nearly a decade and a half after the rare cultural diplomacy between the two longtime enemy states.