"I'm skeptical of the reports of killing the orchestra members, although it's possible."rchestra, which plays primarily with Western instruments, is North Korea's most visible classical music organization.
Below are two videos that have emerged of the Unhasu Orchestra in concert.
In the days of Chairman Mao, most music was banned, except for five revolutionary operas.
Ayatollah Khomeini banned most Western music when he took power.
North Korea has always had a curious relationship to classical music, dating back to the late ruler Kim Jong Il, who claimed to have written six operas, and whose state-run orchestras would play entire Tchaikovsky symphonies by memory.
On Wednesday came a report from South Korea's spy agency that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the execution last month of four members of Pyongyang's Unhasu Orchestra.
The musicians were killed by firing squad on charges of espionage, according to separate reports in the .Kim has also ordered the execution of 15 senior officials this year who were accused of challenging his authority, according to the intelligence agency.South Korean lawmaker Shin Kyoung Min didn't reveal how the agency obtained the information.It declined to confirm the comments when contacted by the .According to a report by Radio Free Asia, the condemned musicians were required to stand naked "while 400-500 members of the Pyongyang artistic community were forced to watch." A source told the network: " professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences at Columbia University, cautioned that reports from South Korea's spy agency are unreliable."It is certainly the case that Kim Jong Un has executed a number of officials since coming to power, notably his uncle by marriage, Jang Song Taek, with his alleged associates in December 2013," he said in an e-mail to WQXR.