RPO clarinetist in North Korea

Word on the street is that Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra clarinetist Robert DiLutis is in North Korea with the New York Philharmonic. He was tapped to sub for someone who couldn’t go.

On Tuesday, the orchestra will play in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. This is the first visit by an American cultural group to that country since President Bush lumped it into the “axis of evil.” According to the State Department, President Bush is encouraging the visit.

Tuesday’s concert at East Pyongyang's Grand Theater may include the nation's authoritarian leader, Kim Jong Il. It’ll be broadcast on WXXI-TV Thursday, February 28th, at 9:00 p.m. in a 2-hour performance and documentary hosted by ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff. The Philharmonic will perform the national anthems of North Korea and the United States, as well as music by Dvorak, Gershwin and Wagner, all under the baton of Music Director Lorin Maazel.

Look for Mr. DiLutis.

Update: On Monday morning I got a phone message from Robert saying he would be happy to talk about his trip, but he has to hand over his phone. All of the musicians’ phones have been collected, and they won’t be returned until they reach South Korea later this week. I'll have an update when he gets his phone back.

What's the NY Phil playing in North Korea, you ask? Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 and ``An American in Paris'' by George Gershwin. One encore planned is the Korean folk song "Arirang,'' beloved in both the North and South.