Atlanta, GRS headquarters, was chosen as the first event to draw on the strength and experience of GRS’ core constituents. The event will emphasize that the DPRK NSO visit to the US is a culmination of GRS’ 15 years of work in the DPRK and reflect the historical sequence of GRS’ cultural exchanges. Since GRS hosted its first delegation from the DPRK in Atlanta in 1998 and brought the Atlanta-based group Casting Crowns to the DPRK in 2007 and 2009, it is fitting to bring the NSO to Altanta. Atlanta is a significant American cultural hub which is representative of the “heartland” of our country. In addition, it is a global economic center (Coca-Cola, Chic-fil-A, Georgia Pacific, Home Depot, Delta Airlines, UPS, SunTrust Bank, and Rubbermaid, to name a few Fortune 500 companies); a media center (CNN Headquarters); and a significant international community with a large Korean-American population. The richness of this city provides a representation of American history, economic creativity and cultural diversity. Starting in Atlanta allows us to establish the apolitical nature of this cultural and educational exchange.
Oxford, Mississippi was chosen as the second venue in order to incorporate a significant educational component into this tour. The University of Mississippi has served as the primary university partner for GRS since 2000. They have contributed to and assisted GRS with projects in Global Health, Engineering, Education, and various other GRS projects. The Chancellor of the University has been on the GRS Board since 2000 and is the current Chairman. In addition to the main concert, the DPRK NSO members will engage with students and faculty in the Music and Arts Colleges.
The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on the Oxford campus will be the venue for this performance. At six stories tall and 88,000 square feet, the Ford Center features state-of-the-art theatrical production facilities, excellent acoustic qualities, well-appointed lobbies and comfortable seating for 1,200 in the main hall ( http://www.fordcenter.org/index.html ).
New York, New York
New York was chosen as the final venue in order to honor the successful and historic work of the New York Philharmonic. While this tour is separate and is as much based in the nearly 15 years of work in cultural exchanges with GRS, we believe it is important to provide both the DPRK NSO and the New York Philharmonic an opportunity to once again engage together in the US. In addition, the Premiere Commission has commissioned Maestro Jang to compose and debut a new orchestra score in the spirit of this exchange. We anticipate a resounding finale to the tour in New York.