Local 802 has learned that a concert at Merkin Hall on Friday, October 21, 2022 by the “Ureuk Symphony Orchestra” is apparently designed to support the state of North Korea. The conductor is Christopher Jonnmoo Lee (a/k/a Ri Jun Mu) and the soloist is listed as Hana Kim (clarinet).

The apparent purpose of the concert is to photograph American audiences and American musicians enthusiastically playing and hearing North Korean military music. The concert starts with traditional European orchestral music –  Dvorak and Weber in this case – and then goes into undisclosed “other Korean orchestral music.”

The group may be composed of music students as well as local freelancers. The Wall Street Journal, NK News and the Human Rights Foundation have reported on these concerts in the past and exposed their connection to the North Korean state.

WHAT: “Ureuk Symphony Orchestra,” a performance possibly supporting the state of North Korea

CONDUCTOR: “Chris Joonmoo Lee” (Ri Jun Mu)


WHERE: Merkin Hall

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 21, 2022 at 8pm

REHEARSALS: Carroll Studios on Oct. 19 and Oct. 29, both at 6:30p.m.

To add insult to injury, this nonunion gig apparently pays a total of $170 for the concert plus six hours of rehearsals…and of course no union benefits or protections. Therefore, in addition to supporting the government of North Korea, this gig pays far below area standards for professional musicians in NYC.

SPECIAL NOTE: While Local 802 does not offer legal advice in this matter, we encourage all musicians of South Korean citizenship to direct questions regarding their participation in this performance and its potential impact on citizenship status to the NYC office of the South Korean consulate general at (646) 674-6000.

If you have any additional information about this gig, or if you were asked to play it, please contact the Local 802 Hotline. All calls are confidential.