Kim Cheol-woong is a pianist, music professor and North Korean defector.
He graduated from the North's top music school and further studied at Russia's prestigious Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
He was a pianist for the North Korea's national symphony orchestra for two years.
But he crossed the border in 2001 when he was 27.
[Interview : Kim Cheol-woong, Pianist ed:mark] "I was disgusted by the North's system that restricts and censors music. I came to South Korea to play the piano freely."
Adding to his music career, Kim actively engages in activities related to North Korea, such as this rehearsal for a special concert to console North Korean defectors living in South Korea.
Also, Kim was invited to Korea's first classical music festival soley devoted to the piano, held mainly at the Gyeonggi Arts Center in Suwon..
[Interview : Kim Dae-jin, Artistic Director
Peace & Piano Festival
] "We wanted to show the symbol of peace. Since we are a separated country, we wanted to share music with North Korean musicians."
During the eight-day event, twelve Korean pianists from three generations performed, including 69-year-old Han Tong-il who led the first generation of world-class Korean pianists, and rising young stars Son Yeol-eum and Lim Dong-hyek, who have both won prizes at prestigious international competitions.
Kim was a special guest at one of the concerts… dubbed the "Peace Concert."
[Reporter : Park Ji-won
firstname.lastname@example.org] "This concert holds even greater meaning as all the profits will be donated to the international relief and development organization World Vision."
The performance was successful.
[Interview : Jin Hyeon-jeong, Concertgoer ] "It was a very good concert, because it wasn't an ordinary concert. I think the guest artist's performance served the intention of the concert well."
The participating artists made beautiful harmony, which delivered the message of world peace.
[Interview : Kim Cheol-woong, Pianist ed:mark] "I am really honored to be given a chance to play with the best pianists in Korea. We only play in South Korea now, but I hope this "Peace and Piano Festival" will be held in Pyeongyang someday."
As music has the power to touch people beyond borders, Kim hopes his dream will come true in the near future.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.