GWIKS hosted a concert and lecture event on December 17th, 2018 with Hyung Joon Won, a renowned violinist and activist, on “Building Trust through Music Diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula”. During his lecture, Mr. Won shared his vision on bringing peace and harmony to the currently divided Korean Peninsula through music.
After his astonishing performance of Beethoven’s Romance No.2, op.50, Estrellita (My Little Star) by Ponce, and Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen with pianist Yejin Lee, Mr. Won began by thanking Professor Jisoo M. Kim for providing an opportunity to perform and speak at GW. He explained that Daniel Barenboim, a pianist, conductor, and founder of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, was his inspiration and through Barenboim’s works, he learned that music can be integrated into diplomacy and the miraculous role music can have during historical events such as Ping-pong diplomacy of 1971, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and most recently, in the Pyeongchang Olympics. Music is a way to come close to one another, overcome hate and prejudice, and enable people listen to each another.
Mr. Won explained how music is an art that touches the depth of human existence and art of sound that crosses all borders. Mr. Won explained that the essence of music diplomacy is to have people of different countries to communicate through music and with their emotions. However, Mr. Won clarified that music does not automatically translate into peace between nations, but rather, it is a method to open the hearts of people. Furthermore, Mr. Won stressed the significance of establishing peace between North Korea and the United States in order to bring peace and reunification to the Korean Peninsula. Mr. Won concluded the lecture by remarking that he believes in the value of music and that despite all the conflicts going on around the world, the musicians are trying to create peace.