On March 24 near Washington D.C. in the U.S., Castleton festival music concert was held under the theme ‘A Time To Break Silence.’
The concert was held by Chateuville Foundation, founded by Lorin Maazel, a world renowned conductor who led the New York Philharmonic orchestra to perform in Pyongyang in 2008.
This time, the concert invited artists from oppressed countries to perform together.
As a North Korean refugee artist, Mr. Kim Chul-woong, a pianist and formerly a member of the Pyongyang national orchestra until he escaped in 2002, performed the ‘Arirang Sonata’ at the Castleton Festival.
During the festival, Mr. Kim shared his thoughts on art and freedom with Maazel.
Mr. Kim was introduced to the stage by Dr. Suzanne Scholte, a long time human rights activist for North Korea and chairwoman of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, where he presented the audience with the beautiful sounds of the ‘Arirang Sonata.’
Mr. Kim also offered his personal story of escape, following the North Korean state security’s investigation over the fact that he played Richard Clayderman’s ‘A Comme Amour,’ a piece that is banned in North Korea.
Mr. Maazel, who once conducted North Korea’s national orchestra in 2008 recalled his impression during his visit, saying “[they] had perfect skills but lacked in the breath of freedom.” He emphasized that “artists should enjoy freedom and the spirit of art regardless of politics.”