Japanese woman to sponsor NY Philharmonic’s N. Korea visit

Posted on : 2008-02-15 11:29 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Through music, Ceschina hopes to contribute to cultural diplomacy and bring peace

A Japanese woman who resides in Italy is playing an important role in the New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance in Pyongyang, slated for February 26. The performance in the North Korean capital is considered a major cultural event, and could make a significant contribution to the improvement of ties between the United States and North Korea.

Yoko Nagae Ceschina, 75, a Japanese millionaire who been a resident of Italy for the past 45 years, volunteered to sponsor the world-famous orchestra’s performance in Pyongyang. Ceschina said, “I don’t know much about politics, but hope that music can make peace,” when North Korea invited the orchestra to perform in its capital city in September, according to Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun. South Korea’s Asiana Airlines and the MBC broadcasting company will pay for the cost of round-trip airfare for the orchestra and its staff, as well as the cost of television relay broadcasts, while Ceschina will underwrite the remaining expenses, amounting to tens of millions of yen.

After graduating from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Ceschina entered the Venice Conservatory of Music in Italy, where she majored in harp performance. She met her husband, who was a millionaire, and they married in 1977. After her husband passed away in 1982, she inherited a sizable fortune and since then has supported talented musicians, regardless of their gender or nationality. “Why am I assisting with this performance? I have supported various orchestras in the past and this is just one part of that. Music has no borderlines. It is good if people gain some happiness by listening to good music,” she said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is a self-avowed fan of classical music who once said, “My first love is music.” Ceschina says that if she were to meet him, she would say: “I heard that you like music. My first love is music too. The main players in this performance are the U.S. and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. However, by sponsoring the performance, I just want to give a good impression as a Japanese person.”

Please direct questions or comments to [englishhani@hani.co.kr]

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