US loses three major pianists to global visa logjam

US loses three major pianists to global visa logjam


norman lebrecht

October 06, 2021

The Boston Symphony has been forced to replace the Dutch brothers Lucas and Arthur Jussen at this week’s concerts ‘due to unprecedented delays in the issuing of their travel visas’.

Local sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton will make their debut in Mozart’s Concerto in E-flat for Two Pianos, K365.

We hear also that the US Embassy in Oslo did not grant Leif Ove Andsnes a visa to play three concerts with the New York Philharmonic Oct 14,15 and 16, despite his submitting a visa application in spring of this year.

This has yet to be confirmed and a replacement announced.


  • Piston1 says:

    I’m sure it will all work out fine, esp. as the three artists from Europe were hired mainly for extra-musical reasons. We’ve got great talent over here already.

    • David A says:

      Oh I feel sorry for you that your political bitterness has taken over your ability to appreciate simple joys of life….and on top of that, feel the need to comment on it in order to be heard. You weren’t born like this, and it’s never too late to change. I hope you can find a welcoming community in real life where you feel more at ease.

    • Nelson says:

      Extra-musical reasons? Do tell. I would have to dig extra deeply among the thousands of comments on this blog to find something as myopically juvenile as your reaction to this very real problem.

  • M McAlpine says:

    Blame Brexit!

  • MacroV says:

    With Andsnes, the issue is probably not the Embassy issuing the visa – that’s easily done – it’s that it probably hasn’t received the I-797 petition (I assume for
    P-1 or O-1 visa) from the Department of Homeland Security.

    • BB says:

      Everything was done correctly

    • Monsoon says:

      Not quite.

      USCIS has to first approve your form I-129.

      Once you have that approval, then you go to the U.S. consulate/embassy in your country to apply for the visa, which includes an interview, that they issue.

      Having prepared O-1 visas, any time I had an issue with the process it was always with USCIS, not the consulate.

      So it is possibly for the consulate to hold things up, but I can’t imagine what issue they’d have that USCIS didn’t, unless the artist said something really wrong in the interview.

      • cbr says:

        As Mr. Andsnes said to me “It’s a lottery” That our govt. acted in this irresponsible way is deplorable! His management certainly was aware of the process.

        • Monsoon says:

          Until more information is available, I’m not rushing to judgement.

          From having prepared many visa applications for artists, I know full well how convoluted the process is, how things get held up for capricious reasons.

          Like I said before, in my experience, for the hold up to be the consulate instead of USCIS is quite strange because USCIS processes the application — that’s where you have bureaucrats complaining that you forgot to dot an i.

          With such a well known artist as Andsnes, the consulate interview is just pro-forma questions verifying he’s an international piano superstar.

          So will Mr. Andsnes say if anything unusual happened during the interview? Was it different than interviews he’s done in the past?

  • drummerman says:

    Every time I have prepared an O-1 visa application, I have sent it in a minimum of 6 or 7 months in advance. (Repeat minimum.) And that’s before covid, etc.

  • Nick says:

    We can live ever happier without a couple of Dutch blondies, but Leif Ove Andsnes is a real serious artist. Sad!

  • BB says:

    All sent in last spring!

  • D says:

    The Naughtons are brilliant and have a major career–they are a more than worthy replacement for the Jussens (who are also terrific). To describe them merely as “local” (and last I heard, they were actually based in NYC) does not do justice to their talent, nor to the BSO’s ability to attract star power even at the last minute.

  • Bill says:

    Oh dear — this is going to greatly exacerbate the pianist shortage!

    A certain quip of Sir Thomas Beecham’s comes to mind…

  • Peter says:

    How nice it is to see the US open up again under Biden, after all these dark years with Drumpf!