Musicians

One of the specialties of Unhasu Orchestra was that a large amount of people went through it. Some musicians and singers stayed with it from the beginning till the end, but many people visited only once, or stayed only for a few concerts before moving to somewhere else. Thus it is impossible to say how many people altogether participated in the UO during its time, nor is it possible to find their names. Some visitors were young children or teenagers, some very old teachers from the Kim Won Gyun Pyongyang University of Music. Especially the names of background musicians were only seldom disclosed. In the list below there are thus only a limited number of names and pictures of people.

STRINGS

Violin

Mun Kyong-jin 문경진, first violin, concert master, People’s Artist.
According to Kuwolsan (yForum comments), the DPRK booklets handed out at the Paris Unhasu concert in 2012 gave a good description of Mun Kyong Jin’s educational background, on which I have added details from a 23 July 2005 KCNA article ‘Letter to Kim Jong Il from Winner of Int’l Violin Concours’ and other sources:
– was born in 1981, as the son of a musician, who most likely belonged to one of the well placed Pyongyang families, enabling good education for the child
– was placed at the Pyongyang Taedongmun Kindergarten, which is specialized in violin and kayagum education for small children, in central Pyongyang (KCNA 20091105). During school years his musical education quite likely took place in some of the School Children’s Palaces in Pyongyang.
– 2000: graduation from the Kim Won Gyun conservatory (later renamed KWG University of Music); in the letter he gives credit to Kim Jong Il for the favour of enabling his studies at the university.
2000-possibly musical studies in China.
– 2005: played violin at the Mansudae Art Troupe.
2005-2007: studied at the Moscow State Conservatory P.I. Tchaikovsky (Московская Государственная Консерватория им. П. И. Чайковского) at the postgraduate level, without being enrolled in a degree programme.
2002: 2nd prize at the 12th “2.16 individual Performing Arts Competition” (Pyongyang)
2005 July: 1st prize at the Canetti International Violin Competition (Miscolc, Hungary). He did not actually win the competition, as the winner’s title was Grand Prix, which went to Russian violinist Lena Semenova, while the 1st prize was divided between Mun and Russian violinist Pavel Milyukov. But this was a good result anyway.
2005 December: 2nd prize at the 3rd Paganini violin competition (Moscow). Also in the 4th competition in 2006 there was a participant from North Korea, but as he/she did not win a prize, we do not know the name. As it is unlikely that Mun would have participated a second time in the same competition, also another North Korean violinist probably has been at that time in Moscow.
2006: 3rd prize at the 4th Yampolski violin competition (Moscow)
2006 December: prize (no number given) at the Astana Merey competition (Astana, Kazakhstan) http://www.oistrakh.ru/en/laureates/2007/210/
2007 February: 2nd prize at the 3rd Moscow International David Oistrakh Violin Competition.
2007 June 15-19: participated in the first round of the renowned Tchaikovsky competition, but his name was no more seen in the second round, which means that he dropped. http://music8.2ch.net/test/read.cgi/classical/1179078458/ items 62, 235 and 255.
– As his participation in international competitions ended in June 2007, he probably returned to Pyongyang some time after that, Mansudae Art Troupe being his most likely place of employment. Many of the musicians for Unhasu Orchestra were picked from there in 2009. In that year he became 28 years old, had a fair amount of international experience behind him, and already in the first UO concert sat in the position of the first violin. The DPRK invested quite much on him; for his basic education, foreign studies and participations in international competitions. We do not have corresponding amounts of information about any other UO artist.

Kim Su-myong 김수명, deputy concert master in Paris

Jong Son-yong 정선영, the female violin star.

viol Pek Hyon-hui 백현희  20091010 01.16.10 s

Pek Hyon-hui 백현희 20091010 01.16.10.

viol Pe Un-ju 배은주 s

Pe Un-ju 배은주

viol Kim Song-hui 김송희 s

Kim Song-hui 김송희

viol Choe Song-il 최성일  20091010 01.16.19 s

Choe Song-il 최성일 20091010 01.16.19

viol Kim Mun-sol 김문설 20100308 39.21 s

Kim Mun-sol 김문설 20100308 39.21

viol vanhempi herra 20091010 42.55

A bit older gentleman, probably from Mansudae Yesuldan, helping UO during 2009-10. He has been observed playing also at Wangjesan Yesuldan.

Names of the following ones are unknown.


Cello

Cell Choe Jin-ok 최진옥 20120308 01.08.30 s

Choe Jin-ok 최진옥 20120308 01.08.30

Cell Ri Kum-hyok 리금혁 20120308 01.07.59 s

Ri Kum-hyok 리금혁 20120308 01.07.59

Cell Yon Jina 연진아  20120308 01.09.39 s

Yon Jina 연진아 20120308 01.09.39

Cell Ryang Chol-jun 량철준 20120308 01.08.49 s

Ryang Chol-jun 량철준 20120308 01.08.49

cell Kang Se-hyok 강세혁 20100215 53.21 s

Kang Se-hyok 강세혁, teacher from KWG University, one time visitor, 20100215 53.21

Cellists; names found except for one.

Contrabasso, names unknown

contrabasso  20100500 12.25 23.30

Sohegum

sohegum Nam Un-ha 남운하 201005xx 37.51 s

Nam Un-ha 남운하 20100500 37.51

Unknown sohegumists

Kayagum  가야금 伽倻琴

Jo Ok-ju 조옥주 debut 201005xx 26.06 s

Jo Ok-ju 조옥주, debut performance 20100500 26.06

Unknown lute and sohegum players

Piano

piano Ho Kwang-jin 허광진 20100909 43.40 ss

Ho Kwang-jin 허광진 20100909 43.40

Kim Yong-je 김용재 song&piano 20120308 01.40.33 ss

Kim Yong-je 김용재 20120308 01.40.33. Basically a singer, but played also piano.

Kim Yong-mi 20120217 09.58 ss

Kim Yong-mi 20120217 09.58

Kim Jong-mi 20120830 46.56 s

Kim Jong-mi 20120830 46.56

Lots of unknown pianists, more than in these pictures. During the early period they tended to be male, towards the end a large number of young women occupied the pianist’s seat.

Guitar and bass. The bass remained anonymous, but the name of the guitarist was found.

guitar & bass 20091010 01.04.51 s

Guitarist Song Un Sim 송은심20100215 49.28 s

Song Un-sim 송은심 20100215 49.28

Harp

There appeared to be three or more different harp players, and the name of none of them was disclosed, and often their faces were not shown. If shown, in a way that it is difficult to say if a person in an other picture is the same or not. We know, nevertheless, one of them, namely Jo Ok-ju, who at least once played that instrument.

 

WIND INSTRUMENTS

Flute

flute Ri Jong-hui 리정희 201005xx 08.20 s

Ri Jong-hui 리정희 20100500 08.20

flute Unknown 20100215 31.09 s

flute Unknown 20100215 31.09. She used to sit beside Ri Jong-hui

flute Jin Kuk-song 진국송 201005xx 39.40 s

Jin Kuk-song 진국송 20100500 39.40

Unknown flutists 20101231 30.40

Unknown flutists 20101231 30.40

Clarinet

clarinet Jin Yong-su 전영수 20100417 38.04 s

Jin Yong-su 전영수 20100417 38.04

Saxophone; the six gentlemen were with UO since the beginning, and only near the very end their ranks started to diminish.

sax Ri Chol-hun 리철훈 20091010 01.04.02 s

Ri Chol-hun 리철훈 20091010 01.04.02

sax Song Yong-guk 송용국 20100215 19.28 (1)

Song Yong-guk 송용국 20100215 19.28

sax Kim Hyong-il 김형일 20130501 24.52 ss

Kim Hyong-il 김형일 20130501 24.52

sax Hwang Sung-chol 황승철 1 17.45 s

Hwang Sung-chol 황승철 20100215 17.45

sax Ri Ung 리웅 20100215 18.18 s

Ri Ung 리웅 20100215 18.18

sax Kim Song-guk 김성국 20100215 17.45 s

Kim Song-guk 김성국 20100215 17.45

These three young ladies were one time visitors

Trumpet

trump Kim Un-song 김운성 20100215 45.42 s

Kim Un-song 김운성 20100215 45.42

trump Kim Song-il 김성일 20120425 01.01.35 s

Kim Song-il 김성일 20120425 01.01.35

trump Kim Song-il 김성일, Kim Un-song 김운성, Ro Jong-hyok 로정혁 20120425 01.01.26 s

Kim Song-il 김성일, Kim Un-song 김운성, Ro Jong-hyok 로정혁 20120425 01.01.26

trumpet Unknown 20100417 52.23 (1)

Kim Chol-jun 김철준 20100417 52.23. Later trumpetist in the Chongbong Band.

Senap 새납
A modern North Korean version of a traditional instrument with a loud and piercing sound, used by military and farmer’s bands. It came to Korea from China about a thousand years ago. In South Korea it is called also taepyeongso 태평소 太平簫 and other names. It was used by UO only in a few traditional songs. Kim Un-chol 김은철 was specialized on senap playing.

Kim Un-chol 김은철 senap 20121117 01.15.21 s

Kim Un-chol 김은철 20121117 01.15.21

Horn

käyrätorvi 20100308 07.33

Unknown 20100308 07.33

Käyrätorvia 20100500 12.25

Unknowns 20100500 12.25

 

Accordeon. It was not a usual instrument in UO, but appeared occasionally.

harmonica Won Yun-jol 원윤절 20100201 01.00.59

Won Yun-jol 원윤절 20100201 01.00.59

harmonica Kim Hyang-sun of later MoranbongB 20110204 55.30 s

Kim Hyang-sun 김향순 20110204  55.30. A year later she joined the Moranbong Band, staying there in 2012-2013.

Percussion and drums

percussionists  20100500 18.24 s

Unknowns 20100500 18.24. Especially during the early career of UO percussionists tended to be males.

Unknown drummer 20101231 Butterfly lovers

Unknown drummer 20101231

Percussion lady 20110204 34.05 s

Unknown 20110204 34.05

Percussionist 20121117 27.36 s

Unknown 20121117 27.36. She came in spring 2010 with traditional instruments, and stayed till the end.