Cuba symphony cancels tour because Trump stints visas

Cuba symphony cancels tour because Trump stints visas


norman lebrecht

April 05, 2018

The Chicago Symphony has announced that a forthcoming US tour by the National Symphony of Cuba with soloist Esperanza Spalding has been called off because the players are having trouble getting visas.

So many officials have been withdrawn from the US embassy in Havana that visa requests are not getting processed.


  • Eric says:

    Interesting they have already cancelled the 2019 tour when the same Cuban orchestra just toured the US last month.

  • Alan k says:

    The article fails to note the reason for the withdrawal of US diplomats. Many were removed because of incurring serious brain injuries during their stint at the embassy. These injuries date back to the Obama administration The source of the injuries has not been identified but the injuries are real and serious

    More honest reporting would at least mention this

  • Caravaggio says:

    And what is a symphony orchestra doing with an experimental jazzer anyway? If the orchestra sought to prove their mettle and gain validation, that should have been done through warhorses or standard rep and not through hiding behind a screen of experiments and so called innovations.

    • Fred says:

      Playing non-standard repertoire doesn’t mean an orchestra is “hiding.” It simply means that the orchestra has other priorities. Good for Cuba, I say! The symphonic world would be a thousand times more interesting if we didn’t have hundreds of orchestras whose programming is almost entirely interchangeable.

    • William Safford says:

      Why not?

      Assuming that this is the same orchestra that just toured in the U.S. last month, then they had a clarinet soloist, Antonio Dorta, who blew my mind with the quality of his Mozart. He played with great artistry and control. He produced some of the best-sounding throat tones that I’ve ever heard.

      Why not mix it up with a virtuoso jazz bass player?

  • Mark J Henriksen says:

    The National Ballet of Cuba is at the Kennedy Center in late May so visas must be getting processed.

  • Jim McGuire says:

    I happen to know 3 musicians in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba. They (the whole orchestra) only obtained their visas for their recent US tour several days before the tour started and the whole orchestra flew to Merida or Mexico City to get them. All got their visas except for one horn player, who ironically had traveled to the USA multiple times in the past. No one (except for the visa officer) knows why he was denied.

    And yes….Will Safford is right about the clarinet player. His concerto was excellent!