Exclusive: Cameron Carpenter is deported from Britain

Exclusive: Cameron Carpenter is deported from Britain


norman lebrecht

March 18, 2014

The flamboyant organist was refused permission to enter the country at Birmingham Airport and sent back to Berlin. He has a premiere  in Birmingham tomorrow and both his agent and the concert hall are desperately trying to get him back.

The deportation appears to have arisen from a misreading of immigration rules by border officials at Birmingham Airport. Or possibly because they didn’t like the way he dressed. Or whatever.

It is the third known case this year of an artist with a legitimate visa falling foul of these complex rules.

Read more about it here on the IAMA site. If you’re an agent or an artist, call your MP and ask them to put down a question to the Home Office. This signifies an increasing abuse of the rights of travelling artists.


UPDATE: All’s well that ends well? No, the disgrace deepens. Read here.


  • No admission without a black tie.

  • MWnyc says:

    I’m sorry but I can’t help wondering if Cameron said something really snotty to the immigration officer. Not that that should invalidate his contract to perform in Britain, but it’s never a good idea. And Cameron Carpenter isn’t famous for his self-restraint.

  • G Ell says:

    It is not just traveling artists but journalists too who are increasingly being subjected to harrassment by British “intelligence” officials. Alan Rusbridger of The Guardian is Exhibit A. There are two other notorious recent cases of intimidation at Heathrow. And we have the gall to criticize Putin? With what ethical or moral weight? I don’t condone Putin but just sayin’.

    • G Ell says:

      Other than Alan Rusbridger, let me list real names of those recently harassed and intimidated by British officials / authorities.

      Jesselyn Radack, American attorney working on behalf of Edward Snowden – interrogated/harassed at Heathrow Airport

      David Miranda, Brazilian boyfriend of journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, the man who broke the NSA and partners stories along with other journalists, based on Snowden’s documents – interrogated/harassed/detained for 9 hours at Heathrow Airport – personal gadgets confiscated

      Sarah Harrison, British national and journalist in exile in Moscow with Snowden – unable to return to her country of origin on security fears

      This is today’s Britain or are we talking name-your-favorite-repressive-regime?

  • RalphW says:

    He wasn’t deported, he was refused entry, it is not the same thing.

  • ed says:

    Well, maybe someone should organize an LGBT demonstration against the British immigration authorities and also it’s Home Office, since talented guys like Cameron who are creative, outspoken, and are not afraid to live their lives in their own way, not only have too much going for them, they are threatening to those in authority. That’s probably the real issue. So, Mr. Williams check this one out, and if I’m right, get cracking, and not just discriminate against the Russkies.

  • Anonymous says:

    The UK, the US, and Canada compete every year for the number 1 spot in being the biggest pain in the butt for musicians to work in.

  • Laura Farrell says:

    If he had a legitimate visa, it was prearranged, had been previously checked out, and therefore he had legitimate grounds to expect entry. This isn’t fair on promoters and ticket holders who have paid good money for tickets.

  • BJO says:

    It was not Cameron’s fault. He has been to the UK many times. It was just someone over there who made a big mistake! They need to get their act together with their own laws. Luckily Cameron got into the country but they should apologize to him and his staff for all the inconveniences they caused.

  • mono says:

    Cameron Carpenter is not an artist. He’s a showman, who wouldn’t have any audience if it was only about music. It’s about look and behavior, not about musical performance (his so-called interpretations are based mostly on his lack of knowledge). So call him a performer, not an artist, please.

    • BJO says:

      Cameron is an artist. He has many years of formal training with a Master degree at Julliard. He is also a prodigy from childhood. He was born gifted and talented. He is naturally gifted in dance and vocals as well as music/organ. Haven’t you heard of the Performing ARTS!!! an artist… a performer!?!

      • CL says:

        A Master degree from Juilliard (note the correct spelling) means that you can play all of the notes accurately, i.e., you’re a well-oiled machine — nothing more.

  • Michael Schaffer says:

    This may be a silly question, but Carpenter lives and works in Berlin, so obviously he has residency and work permit in one EU country, so can’t he just travel freely to any other EU country, including the UK?

    • Anon says:

      Michael, just because he may live and works in Berlin doesn’t mean it is ‘obvious’ he has residency. UK is outside the Schengen area, so the same rules of free travel don’t totally apply in all circumstances.

    • Vlad says:

      This is where it becomes complex, and the difference between the EU and Schengen is felt. Always problematic with people who have a visa for the UK and want to travel to mainland Europe or work there, and vice-versa.

  • jono bridge says:

    Cameron is always welcome back to New Zealand, and to play on the fully restored town hall organ that he knows well, all the best Cameron BLESS !!

  • Anon says:

    They perhaps took the view that the last thing the UK needs at present is another Cameron….

  • Razvan Jurca says:

    We’ll always be expecting Cameron back to Bucharest instead. Any time and no visa will ever be required here from such a great artist!

  • Gisele says:

    First time I have heard and seen him in Budapest. I am sure, he is more than we all we are. Sorry.

  • Amy says:

    About time. There are more better organist in uk who have been play like him for years.