In a statement released today, Lincoln Center Out of Doors director Jenneth Webster said, "Unfortunately visa deadlines affected their engagement, and resulted in this cancellation."
Happily, the program, scheduled for 7:30 both evenings at the Damrosch Park Bandshell, is not cancelled. The Lula Washington company has agreed to perform additional dances, accompanied live by Marcus L. Miller with the Freedom Jazz Movement ensemble, for a complete evening. (Further information will be provided at www.lincolncenter.org as it becomes available.)
Difficulties and delays in securing U.S. work visas for foreign artists have caused many a headache for American concert presenters in recent years, especially with new additional requirements and application procedures put into place by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Among the casualties over the past year or so: violinist Erik Schumann missed his Philadelphia Orchestra debut last month; the 92nd Street Y had to cancel a duo piano recital by pianists Cristina Barbuti and Alexander Lonquich in May; Canadian baritone Russell Braun missed a planned duo recital in January with compatriot soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian in New York; violinist Igor Oistrakh was forced to withdraw from both the season-opening gala concert of the Indianapolis Symphony and from the jury of last fall's International Violin Competition of Indianapolis; and the Önder Piano Duo, twin sisters from Turkey, could not make their appearance at last summer's Deer Valley Music Festival in Utah.
Indeed, England's Hallé Orchestra abandoned altogether a planned 2007 tour of the U.S. because of the expense and difficulty of obtaining visas for all of its members.