Just in: Norway expels US conductor over Covid violation

Just in: Norway expels US conductor over Covid violation


norman lebrecht

October 01, 2020

The Norwegian authorities have ordered James Gaffigan to leave the country by Monday after he concludes a quarantine period.

Gaffigan, 41, was accused of breaking Covid rules. He has a Norwegian wife and child and will be separated from them.

Here’s what he tweets:

Norway has one of the world’s lowest Covid rates.


  • Lilas Pastia says:

    According to the leading Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, Gaffigan is NOT expelled due to breaking Covid-19-rules, he is expelled due to having overstayed the period allowed for non-residents to stay in the Schengen-area (maximum of 90 days in a six month period). His overstaying was due to Covid-19 travel restriction. He has appealed the decision.

    He has applied for a spousal residential permit in Norway, having a wife and a child in Norway.

    From the article (in Norwegian):
    “Uten visum kan man kun være i Norge og resten av Schengen-området i inntil 90 dager i løpet av en periode på 180 dager.
    James Gaffigan har vært i Norge lenger, i 151 dager. Han var så i Nederland i seks dager og får ikke bli i Norge. Han blir bortvist etter utlendingsloven § 17 første ledd bokstav d:
    «En utlending kan bortvises når utlendingen mangler nødvendig tillatelse etter loven.»
    Det er en høyere terskel for å legge vekt på familiesituasjon når det gjelder såkalte tredjelandsborgere (som borgere av USA) i forhold til EØS-borgere. Det opplyser politiet. (…) Planen var aldri å være her for lenge. En amerikansk statsborger uten oppholdstillatelse kan maksimalt være i Norge i tre måneder i løpet av en seks måneders periode. Normalt jobber han så mye på scener rundt i verden at dette aldri er et problem.

    Så ble nesten alle jobbene avlyst på grunn av korona.”


  • James Weiss says:

    I haven’t followed Gaffigan for awhile but last I checked he had an American wife and 2 children in Brooklyn (I’ve met them). Is this a second family?

    • Lilas Pastia says:

      According to the article I’ve linked to above (Norwegian, and behind a paywall), Gaffigan is married to the Norwegian violinist Camilla Kjøll, and they have a two-year old together.

      • James Weiss says:

        If you google Gaffigan it says “he lives in Lucerne and Brooklyn with his wife Lee Taylor and their 2 children Sofia and Liam.” That’s the family I met in 2016.

        Obviously a disconnect here. How many families does he have?

        • manfred says:

          he is remarried with new child

        • Bruce says:

          I know nothing of his personal life, but: sometimes people divorce and then marry other people. Sometimes they even have new children with their new spouse.

          • James Weiss says:

            Might be a good idea then to have his representatives update his biography then. Duh.

          • david hilton says:

            Might be a good idea not to cite “google” as if it is fact. Especially an unspecified return from a google search, referenced above. Google is not “his biography”.

          • James Weiss says:

            And before spouting off you might try to do the same thing I did which results in his official biography on his agent’s site. Of course, then you couldn’t be a scold on the internet.

          • Hmus says:

            He needs to find a rep who can stop using that damned crappy cliché “equally at home in” you see in every single singers’ bio, and that of anyone who performs a standard range of music.

          • SVM says:

            The real question is why spouses and progeny are mentioned at all. A biography associated with a musician’s professional persona should stick to matters such as /alma mater/, notable and significant teachers, prestigious performances, recordings, repertoire, awards/honours, affiliations with ensembles/orchestras/institutions, professional collaborations, and artistic interests. Family members should be mentioned only to the extent of their direct relevance to the aforementioned. Looking at Gaffigan’s website, I see that the biography there does not mention family, and rightly so.

          • Bone says:

            “ A second marriage is a triumph of hope over experience.”
            Samuel Johnson

    • Steven J de Mena says:

      In 2014: “ Gaffigan and his wife, Lee Taylor Gaffigan, have a 2-year-old daughter; their second child is due in about a month. ”

  • Joel A Stein says:

    He was divorced.

  • Alter Frager says:

    Lilas Pastia gave us the real story as reported in the local press. The Editor may want to amend the misleading headline

  • Karl says:

    He really gets around. I saw him in Montreal in February conducting Mozart and Brahms. I wonder if he is in competition for the OSM music director position. I would vote for him. But I don’t get a vote unfortunately.

  • Bratsche brat says:

    How, specifically, was he accused of breaking the rules? The devil’s in the details, no?

    • Lilas Pastia says:

      He did not break any Norwegian Covid-19 rules, but overstayed in the Schengen area. As a non-Schengen citizen, with no recidency permit, he is not allowed to remain in the Schengen area (including Norway) for more than 90 days in a 180 days’ period. He stayed with his wife and child in Oslo because Covid-19 restricted travels and his engagements. But his removal from Norway is du to breaking immigration rules, not Covid-19 rules.

      • Nick says:

        Whatever the so called “law” is, separation of families is a violation of human rights which should be above any government employee’s jurisdiction since this is NOT an immigration issue! Plain and simple.

  • M2N2K says:

    He is one of the most pleasant conductors I have ever worked with and I hope that this very unfortunate situation will be resolved to his satisfaction as soon as possible.

  • Nick says:

    Apparently, not such a “gorgeous” country if they separate families ONLY for the globalists!