More musicians murdered by Kim Jong-un

More musicians murdered by Kim Jong-un


norman lebrecht

May 12, 2021

Further to this week’s reports that the North Korean dictator ordered the execution of a conductor in February, we have been reminded of a little-noticed prior crime in September 2017:

A NORTH Korean defector has revealed she saw 11 musicians “blown to bits” by anti-aircraft guns in a terrifying execution ordered by maniacal dictator Kim Jong-un.

Hee Yeon Lim, 26, the daughter of a high-ranking soldier from Pyongyang, fled to South Korea last year and has told of the horrors she witnessed while part of the secretive Kim regime’s inner circle.

Read on here.

Those few voices who spoke up against the New York Philharmonic’s vanity trip to Pynongyang in 2008 have been vindicated, both morally and politically.




  • John Borstlap says:

    Indeed, one should never play into the games of psychopaths.

    As to these gruesome executions: one can imagine somewhat better what the fantasies of some music critics are.

  • M McAlpine says:

    The regime is Stalinist. This sort of thing happened regularly in Stalin’s reign of terror as it did under most communist despots.

  • Sharon says:

    What a shame! At the time of the trip the US government was trying some detente with North Korea as a way to deter their nuclear program.

    • V.Lind says:

      Indeed, isn’t one of the arguments many artists make that cultural exchange is a way to open dialogue between nations, lessen tensions, etc.? Ill-advised and embarrassing it might have been, as Tiredofitall says below, but it was probably also well-intentioned. Unlike Eyvazov’s correctly labelled (by NL) “poster boy” appearance in Azerbaijan, these musicians went as ambassadors, not propagandists or even supporters.

      Remarks about the food, cited below by Cuyahoga, show either chronic insensitivity or even more chronic ignorance of the world beyond their interest — and bad State Department briefing. But hardly an endorsement of despotism.

  • phf655 says:

    For what it is worth, in 2008 Kim Jong-Un was not the leader of North Korea. His father was no angel, but I am not aware of incidents of people being blown up under that regime, or members of Kim Jong-Il’s immediate family being assassinated, as is the case since the son took power in 2011. Once again, this a case of this blog looking for reasons to attack anything and anyone with a connection to New York.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      (For what it is worth) With the dearth of information from North Korea, no one is aware of the full extent of what has gone on in this country in recent decades. Kim Jong Il, Kim Jung-Un’s father, was widely accused of human rights violations. We know more about his son’s atrocities, which are unspeakable.

      The NYPhil’s “historic” trip was an ill-advised and embarrassing publicity stunt.

      • Cuyahoga says:

        Glenn Dicterow, the NY Phil’s concertmaster at the time, was quoted by NY Times, talking about how good the food was in North Korea, while at the same time North Koreans were starving.

        • John Borstlap says:

          That sums it up in a nutshell.

        • BigSir says:

          Every country where people are enjoying a meal, someone is not getting enough. Have you ever enjoyed a meal? If so, you are as guilty as GD, of what you accuse him of.

          • Hayne says:

            Sorry BigSir but Dicterow should have kept his mouth shut then, knowing about its starving citizens. Unless he was clueless, which many musicians are. Even more embarrassing…

    • Peter says:

      Im intrigued at the interpretation “ this blog [is] looking for reasons to attack anything and anyone with a connection to New York.”
      Believe me, there are many, many terrible things about North Korea. And a connection to New York is completely missing the point.