Eastman School of Music Dean Jamal Rossi has said that the school will postpone a planned Eastman Philharmonia tour of China "until all members of the orchestra can participate."
Here is the message Rossi sent to the Eastman community Tuesday (read it below the story as well).
Earlier this week Rossi had announced plans to proceed with a planned China tour despite the fact that three South Korean students could not obtain required work visas and would not be able to participate.
"In late September, our tour partners in China informed us that they could not obtain visa applications for three South Korean students in the orchestra," wrote Rossi. "This was related to a 2016 decision by the US to deploy a missile defense system in South Korea, and China responded by blocking South Korean artists from performing in China."
He said that they had tried unsuccessfully to obtain visas for the students: "We have spent the past two weeks seeking assistance from our tour partners, our congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., as well as through the Chinese Consulate in NYC. Ultimately and unfortunately, these efforts have proved to be unsuccessful."
The idea of proceeding without the South Korean members of the orchestra produced much backlash; including post on Violinist.com by reader Joseph Galamba.
Here is the text from Rossi's latest e-mail announcing the 'postponement' of the tour:
Dear Members of the Eastman Community,Tweet
I write with an update on the planned Eastman Philharmonia tour of China. I initially chose to proceed with this tour to preserve a transformative opportunity for eighty students. But even after I announced my decision last week, my colleagues and I continued to actively explore multiple avenues to obtain appropriate visas for every member of the ensemble. Ultimately, however, we were not successful. Therefore, in consultation with many individuals, including University and Eastman leadership and our Chinese tour organizers, we have decided to postpone the tour until all members of the orchestra can participate.
I am grateful to the many individuals who took the time to share their thoughts about this matter. Regardless of individual positions, the overriding message for which we can all be grateful was a deep appreciation and respect for Eastman and a commitment to the standards and excellence that have marked our school for nearly 100 years.
For many years, Eastman musicians have performed in venues around the globe to a wide variety of audiences. It is my priority and personal commitment to continue to provide opportunities for Eastman students to share their music with the world. But I believe that given the particular circumstances of this tour, the best course of action for the Eastman community and the values we share is to wait until the Philharmonia can perform as one.
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