Philharmonia Orchestra loses soloist due to UK visa refusal

Philharmonia Orchestra loses soloist due to UK visa refusal


norman lebrecht

April 08, 2017

A day after we reported the denial of a UK visa to a Glyndebourne star, we hear that the Philharmonia lost last night’s violin soloist ‘due to visa issues’.

The intended soloist was the German based Armenian, Sergey Khachatryan.

These may well be part of the birth pangs of Brexit. Things will only get worse.



  • Rosana Martins says:

    What were the reasons given for the refusal? Sergey Khachatryan is a world renowned violinist. Did the orchestra or his manager apply with enough time?

    • Bruce says:

      All these recent difficulties make me wonder if there used to be a “you should really do it the official way, but we usually just do it this way, and they never give us any trouble” way of going about applying for visas, and now the government is suddenly* insisting on every I being dotted and every T being crossed.

      *(“suddenly” meaning they probably gave sufficient advance warning but not everybody believed them, and those who didn’t are now running into trouble)

  • Barbara Forbes says:

    The Home Office seems to be under orders to refuse visas on the grounds that the applicant does not have sufficiently strong links to their home country to guarantee that they will go back. That was the reason given in December to a Christian Aid worker Congo a particular country in Africa whose visit I was coordinating. A week later, the same reason was given (so I was told) to two Syrian Orthodox bishops who has been invited to an event sponsored by Prince Charles. It is all part of the government’s stated policy of creating a “hostile environment” for immigrants. There is no appeal allowed when a visa is refused. I have written to my MP about the refusal of visas to musicians. I suggest we all do.

  • Malcolm James says:

    Maybe someone needs to take the same tack as Sir Neville Marriner did may years ago when a violinist of immigrant extraction in ASMF was detained at the Austrian border in Salzburg on their way to Vienna. Sir Neville simply informed the Musikverein management that the orchestra would not play until and unless the violinist was allowed to play. Needlessly to say, he was released and the concert went ahead.

    • MacroV says:

      I doubt UK immigration officials would care. That said, I’m curious what’s up here. I assume he has status that allows him to travel/perform throughout the Schengen zone, but the UK isn’t part of Schengen. Most likely they’re just tightening requirements, and it was too late to adjust in this case.

      • MaxG says:

        “I assume he has status that allows him to travel/perform throughout the Schengen zone”

        He holds German citizenship and a German passport (he’s lived here for over 25 years now, since age 7).

  • Reb Tevyeh says:

    I understand not so much the fault of the UK as the fault of this brilliant artist’s not so brilliant management team…

  • Ellingtonia says:

    What is it about the theatrical and musical “luvvies” that makes them think they don’t have to follow the rules like the rest of us normal folk? And if tightening up the rules stops some nutter from driving a lorry and killing children then so be it. But of course the Hampstead brigade will be stomping their feet at this threat to “democratic freedom”……….well, when they are picking up body parts (see Stockholme) because lax visa rules enable some terrorist to commit an atrocity by entering the country illegally they can go and light their little candles and emote with the rest of the public.

    • MacroV says:

      Common sense would suggest that a well-known Armenian violinist is probably not a terrorist threat. No need for special treatment for an artist, just better focus on risky populations.

  • Anon says:

    I cannot possibly see what this could have to do with the EU or with Brexit. The notion that this could be Brexit-related at this stage is nonsense, especially with no further information from management or artist. Blaming faceless “Authority” is often a way out for someone’s screw-up, which seems far more likely.

    • V.Lind says:

      And is Britain not a full part of the EU at this point? Subject to all its rules and codes, etc.? Negotiations can barely be under way. While the screwups probably did originate with the artists’ management, I suspect some bureaucrats are perhaps jumping the gun.

      • MacroV says:

        Britain is indeed still part of the EU, but it’s not part of the Schengen zone. So Mr. Khachatryan’s German residency doesn’t do him any good when trying to enter the UK.

      • Anon says:

        @ V.Lind – exactly. And therefore this is highly unlikely to be “Brexit related”, since the same rules and same situation apply today as they did before the UK’s triggering of Article 50, and before the vote to suggest the preference for the same..

  • Nick says:

    What an idiotic policy!!! Hundreds of thousand of dangerous people are being let into the UK and major European countries (France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, etc.) without any documents, among these are radical islamists, bandits, rapists, criminals, killers, suicide bombers, and what not – and there is no problem whatsoever – all the Left loonies cannot be happier greeting them, but for one world-famous, hard-working artist with PROVEN no connection to islamic terrorism, to crime, to any political activities, for that one phenomenal artist the entrance to a major country is closed. This is the hypocrisy of the Left and their loonies. Sergey Khachatrian is a phenomenal artist, one of the best violinists of his and other generations!