Freshman organizes Korea peace concert


Photo courtesy of Elliot Shin

Freshman Elliot Shin (left) poses after a recent oboe performance. Shin is organizing a concert in Korea’s demilitarized zone to promote peace between North and South Korea.

With rising tensions on the Korean peninsula due to the threat of war between North Korea and many other countries, one Lincoln student has stepped up to try and bring peace between both countries.

Freshman Elliot Shin is returning to North Korea with his non-profit Olivenbaum, to play in a concert on the border of North and South Korea. The concert will occur next to the demilitarized zone between the two countries.

Olivenbaum is a non-profit organization that Shin and his brother started with the help of their sister organization, Lindenbaum. Olivenbaum is a group of musicians that  play benefit concerts, teach kids how to play music, and much more.

Shin, who is of Korean descent, plays the oboe during concerts and is the Executive Director of Olivenbaum.

This summer he is visiting Korea for his fourth time to play in a concert with many other musicians from China and Japan.

All of Olivenbaum’s projects stem from the words of Leonard Bernstein; “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” Bernstein was a famous American conductor.“His goal was to unite West and East Germany,” said Shin, “Since I’m Korean and there is a lot of tension between North and South Korea I thought about… why can’t I use music to unite [them]”.

“I am very excited for Elliot,” said Esther Han, Elliot’s mom. “This will be his second visit to the demilitarized zone,” she mentioned. “I am sure he will come home with a better understanding of the situations in Korea.”

Although this is a big opportunity for Shin, there are still some safety concerns when travelling so close to North Korea.

Shin wrote a letter to the South Korean government as well, detailing his thoughts on how musicians from both countries should play in a joint concert during the Winter Olympics.This letter is what earned him a ticket to the Olympic games as well as the Paralympic games.

“I was supposed to play in the opening ceremony with North Korean musicians,” explained Shin, but unfortunately he was not allowed to go due to uncertainty of his safety.

Shin’s work has already been a success and Olivenbaum is thriving, but this is just the beginning. The organization is planning to raise funds to purchase instruments which they can use to teach Syrian refugees.