“The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the American Middle East Institute are in discussions to arrange a potentially groundbreaking concert tour to Iran this September,” writes Elizabeth Bloom in Friday’s (1/17) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The negotiations with Iran about the concert tour, which have occurred with the knowledge of State Department officials, have only recently turned serious.… ‘We have been invited to come over to begin preliminary discussions,’ said Robert Moir, the PSO’s senior vice president of artistic development and audience engagement.… This year marks the 50th anniversary of the PSO’s visit to Iran in 1964, which also was the last time any American orchestra traveled there…. PSO music director Manfred Honeck, who would conduct the pending tour, strongly supports the idea, Mr. Moir said. The trip would be a partnership with the PSO and the Pittsburgh-based AMEI, a nonprofit that seeks to build business, cultural and educational ties to the Middle East. One of the conditions of the tour is that the PSO would not draw from its own operating budget. AMEI would be responsible for fundraising … The current cost is estimated to be roughly $4 million. … The PSO and AMEI had discussed the possibility of touring Iran in 2009, but major protests following the Iranian presidential election at that time steered those plans off course.”

Posted January 17, 2014

Photo of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra by Rob Davidson