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RPO Clarinetist Returns from Historic North Korean Tour with New York Philharmonic

February 28, 2008

Rochester, NY – Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra clarinetist Robert DiLutis returns to the United States tonight from his stint as a substitute clarinetist for the New York Philharmonic’s historic concert in Pyongyang, North Korea under the baton of Music Director Lorin Maazel.  This was the first time that an American orchestra had ever performed in North Korea. 

Mr. DiLutis was tapped for this tour through his acquaintance with members of the New York Philharmonic and subsequent audition and trial week with that orchestra.  Pasquale Martinez, one of the NY Philharmonic clarinetists was out on paternity leave and could not go on the tour.  The orchestra requested DiLutis go to New York to audition, which he did, subsequently playing a trial week, and then was asked to join the tour.

The performance began with the national anthems of both countries, then went on to feature Antonin Dvoƙák’s Symphony No. 9 “New World,” George Gershwin’s An American in Paris, Richard Wagner’s Prelude to Act 3 of "Lohengrin." Three encores were performed, including Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to "Candide" and closing with the Korean folk song Arirang, beloved in both North and South Korea.  In an interview with WXXI’s Brenda Tremblay, DiLutis said all the musicians felt that they had a role to play in “bridging the gap between our two countries.”  He continued to say that “when the North Koreans gave us a standing ovation, and when they waved at us at the end of the concert and we waved back, there was a connection there... when we played one of their national songs, you could see people weeping in the audience.  There was a lot of emotion.”

DiLutis won’t spend too much time basking in the aftermath of the tour.  He’ll be back with the RPO clarinet section playing the next Symphony 101 concerts this Friday and Sunday.

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