Exclusive: Chicago Symphony calls off Asia tour

Exclusive: Chicago Symphony calls off Asia tour


norman lebrecht

August 30, 2021

In response to an inquiry from slippedisc.com, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has issued the following statement:

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra was scheduled to perform in Taiwan, China and Japan in January 2022 with Music Director Riccardo Muti as part of its regular international touring activities. With the ongoing uncertainty caused by the pandemic regarding travel of personnel and cargo, including quarantine requirements in each country, the tour is being postponed to the 2022-2023 season.

A symptom of the times.



  • henry williams says:

    i cannot understand Muti travelling so
    far at his age. with covid 19 around

    • justin says:

      Europeans are still banned from entering the US, I cannot understand how he intends to get to Chicago.

      • Peter San Diego says:

        The EU just put the US back on the list of COVID-dangerous nations, so US citizens won’t be able to travel to the EU without (I presume) a quarantine requirement for the next few months.

  • Maria says:

    Sounds like the best idea and play at home – like the Proms in London.

  • Monsoon says:

    I’m guessing that this has to do with host countries requiring visitors to quarantine for at least 14 days upon arrival, no matter vaccination status and how many negative tests you get.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    ==..perform in Taiwan, China and Japan in January 2022 with Riccardo Muti

    Or “…China, China, China” as R.M. might say as he is reported to have called a Korean person “..that Chinaman”

  • Ken says:

    Get your shots, folks !

  • Chicagorat says:

    As always, Muti will land on his feet.

    In lieu of the tour, JA has already arranged for him a “Carribbean Cruise” of a sort, on the CSOA dime. No quarantine required.

    • Lothario Hunter says:

      Too many rs ….

      But on this Caribbean cruise, of all places, Muti will not want to wear a mask! It sort of defies the purpose of the said cruise. So he will not obey the CSO mask mandate. He will break the law.

      What will Alexander do, discipline him? Don’t bet your CSO pension on it!

      (La Signora will not be invited to the cruise.)

    • Paracelsus says:

      Is it work or leisure? or both?

  • Curvy Honk Glove says:

    Huh… So the CSO is unwilling to associate with and travel to Asian countries now? Because of a contagious and infectious ailment of unspecified origin??? I don’t know about you, but I’m old enough to remember when this kind of behavior was considered racist.

    • Bill says:

      More accurate to say that they’ve chosen not to tour anywhere outside of their home country in the time frame in question (and maybe not even there). They aren’t touring any of the other continents either! But yes, maybe they are just racist against Europeans, Africans, South Americans and the very rare indigenous people of Antarctica.

  • MacroV says:

    Is any orchestra doing overseas tours these days?

  • Alexander Graham Cracker says:

    Don’t know about Taiwan and Japan, but China is currently requiring twenty-eight days of quarantine. And each musician would have to be solitarily confined to his, her, or its own hotel room for the duration. Not much of a tour, that.

  • CA says:

    Personally I think it will be a miracle if it even happens then.

  • Alexander Graham Cracker says:

    A correction to my comment: Some places in China are only requiring twenty-one days of quarantine.

  • Tod Verklärung says:

    Apparently, the CSO itself hadn’t announced the cancellation before Mr. Lebrecht asked the question. Two more questions might be asked. Is Mr. Muti’s contract as Music Director being extended past its upcoming end date? If not, who takes over?

  • Ugh says:

    Yeah nobody needs another orchestra tour to Asia. Vanity project for a vain conductor, PR grab for an orchestra that doesn’t need PR. Meaningless high society events for highest class of Asian people only, etc etc. Totally irrelevant.