New York's Philharmonic Orchestra is set to perform in North Korea as part of the first U.S. cultural visit to the communist state. The ensemble will play in the country's capital, Pyongyang, on 26 February (08) after receiving an invitation from North Korea's Ministry of Culture in August (07). Zarin Mehta, the orchestra's president, spent six days in North Korea in October (07) investigating concert venues and making arrangements for the trip. It is hoped the historic visit will help to improve relations between the two countries. Earlier this month (Dec07), U.S. President George W. Bush wrote to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il urging the country to reveal its nuclear activities. The orchestra's visit will not be the first time the U.S. has used music to build diplomatic bridges - the Boston Symphony was the first U.S. Orchestra to perform in the Soviet Union in 1956.
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