Although the economy of North Korea is weak, when it comes to promoting its political agenda, resources can easily be found. The performance contexts and the musical function of the Ǔnhasu Kwanhyŏnaktan1 of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, hereafter North Korea) were different from those of other orchestras in the world, since it was formed not simply to provide artistic diversion, but to unite the public, and to unify the ideology of the people. Like other North Korean artists who give public performances, the musicians of the Ǔnhasu Orchestra were directed to promote governmental policies and to foster patriotism among the public via musical events and performances. Studying the Ǔnhasu Orchestra is important, because, although the orchestra was short-lived, it shows the changing perspective of North Korean performing arts in the 21st century. My paper deals with the motivations which underlay the formation of the Ǔnhasu Orchestra, and discusses the various social functions it fulfilled, until its disbandment in late 2013. This study investigates the performance contexts and the performance style of the orchestra, as well as socio-political aspects in relation to North Korea’s musical diplomacy.
Social Standing of North Korean Performing Arts
Musical Diplomacy and the Ǔnhasu Orchestra Paris Concert