Byeong Woo Lee (GPD ’98, Guitar; GPD ’00, Chamber Ensemble) recently performed for Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae In at the Korean Demilitarized Zone during a historical meeting between the two countries. Lee played his solo guitar piece Bird alongside a traditional Korean musician and a boy who sang at the winter Olympics. Also in attendance were 40 representatives from both countries.
Lee sent this personal remembrance of the event:
“I was tuning my guitar in front of a room. A room where the most powerful people on the Korean peninsula were present. Included among them were Kim Jong-un, Moon Jae-in, and about 20 ministers and heads of militaries. A robot-like North Korean security guard glanced at me whenever I plucked my guitar to tune. He looked at me as if my guitar needed more tuning. He ignored me as I greeted him with my eyes.
Finally the doors opened and I headed up on to the small stage. I bowed and faced the crowd. I knew their faces as I have seen them on TV. The room was extremely quiet. They must have had a long day. As I tuned my guitar, they must have been tuning Peace, I thought to myself. That made me smile and I began to play.
On my way home on the bus, I felt really happy that I became a musician. The people who were in the room that were also heading back to their respective homes might have realized that dialogue is far better than war. And with music, it must have been even better.”