"This journey is a manifestation of the power of music to unite people," [the Philharmonic's executive director Zarin] Mehta said ahead of the trip. "It is our sincere hope that these concerts will aid in the beginning of a new era between the peoples of our nations."
The Los Angeles Times says the US government has given its backing to the visit.
The trip, arranged through private channels, has received the support of the State Department because it will offer a positive image of the United States at a time of negotiations over dismantling North Korea's nuclear program.
"They are alleging that we have a hostile policy and that's why they need nuclear weapons. The presence of the New York Philharmonic argues against that," said Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill.