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Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2007, 14:04 GMT
US orchestra to make N Korea trip
New York Philharmonic
The orchestra was recently conducted by Gustavo Dudamel
New York's Philharmonic Orchestra will make a historic trip to North Korea in February, it has announced.

Orchestra president Zarin Mehta said it would play in the capital Pyongyang on 26 February.

The reclusive communist country's ministry of culture sent an invitation to the orchestra in August.

This is the first US cultural visit to North Korea, and it is being seen as a breakthrough in the countries' tense relationship.

Historic visits

Mr Mehta said he had spent six days in Pyongyang in October looking into concert venues and making other arrangements for the trip.

New York Philharmonic president Zarin Mehta
Zarin Mehta visited North Korea in October

The North Korean trip follows in the tradition of cultural visits which have played a role in US diplomacy with communist countries.

In 1973, the Philadelphia Orchestra played in Beijing shortly after President Richard Nixon's historic visit to China.

The Boston Symphony became the first US orchestra to perform in the Soviet Union in 1956.

Earlier this month, President Bush wrote to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il urging his country to disclose its nuclear activities.

North Korea agreed to disable its nuclear facilities following an international deal reached in February.

The New York Philharmonic playing

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