Another Visa Struggle Lost: 92nd Street Y's Piano Duo Concert Tonight Cancelled

Classic Arts News   Another Visa Struggle Lost: 92nd Street Y's Piano Duo Concert Tonight Cancelled
 
Tonight's "Masters of the Keyboard" concert at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, featuring pianists Alexander Lonquich and Cristina Barbuti, has been cancelled. Barbuti was unable to secure her visa to the U.S. in time for the performance.

According to a statement released by the Y, Lonquich and Barbuti decided to cancel the concert rather than find a new second pianist "because the program [of music for two pianos and piano four hands by Schumann and Brahms] was carefully planned and conceived in partnership and to reorganize the repertoire did not seem artistically appropriate."

Lonquich will appear as scheduled with the Tokyo String Quartet on May 12. The Y plans to reschedule the Lonquich-Barbuti duo program for a future season.

In the wake of the September 11 atrocity and subsequent events, the U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland Security have instituted new and more stringent (and time-consuming) visa application procedures. These changes have caused particular headaches for concert presenters: the time required for the U.S. government to process the via applications is now both longer and more unpredictable.

For instance, Canadian baritone Russell Braun was unable to sing in a joint recital with soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian this past January in New York because his work visa did not arrive in time; last August, Ferhan and Ferzan ‹nder, twin sisters from Turkey who perform as a piano duo, were unable to secure a visa in time to make their scheduled concert at Utah's Deer Valley Music Festival. And in March of 2006, the Hall_ Orchestra, from Manchester, England, cancelled two concerts scheduled for the U.S. this season when it found it could not spare the extra Ô£45,000 in visa fees and travel expenses to bring all 100 musicians to the American Embassy in London to be individually interviewed and fingerprinted for work permits.

Last year Yo-Yo Ma testified before Congress's Committee on Government Reform asking them to simplify the requirements for foreign artists wanting to perform in the U.S.

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