However, the current Asia tour of the New York Philharmonic has yet to reach its high point – that will be when Maazel, the orchestra and the instruments as well as journalists board an Asiana Airline flight for Pyongyang today.
Maazel was extremely tight-lipped about the visit to Pyongyang when, dressed in a black Chinese-style suit with a straight high collar, he met the press in Beijing.
Despite his reticence, Maazel will draw global attention when he leads the New York Philharmonic on a ground-breaking trip, which is likened to the ping-pong diplomacy between China and the United States in the early 1970s.
During the first significant cultural visit by Americans to North Korea the New York Philharmonic will showcase the vitality of American music and the orchestra's unique history by playing Dvorak's New World Symphony, commissioned and given its world premiere by the New York Philharmonic, and George Gershwin's American in Paris.
In a commentary published in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, Maazel wrote: "I have always believed that the arts and their exponents, artists, have a broader role to play in the public arena. But it must be totally apolitical, nonpartisan and free of issue-specific agendas.
"It is a role of the highest possible order: Bringing peoples and their cultures together on common ground, where the roots of peaceful interchange can imperceptibly but irrevocably take hold.
"If all goes well, the presence of the New York Philharmonic in Pyongyang might gently influence the perception of our country there. If we are gradually to improve US-Korean relations, such events have the potential to nudge open a door that has been closed too long."