“The Budapest Festival Orchestra and its conductor, Ivan Fischer, gave two of the freshest, least conventional Beethoven performances of the season at Lincoln Center this week,” writes Michael Cooper in Wednesday’s (2/8) New York Times. “But the high-energy concerts—part of a five-city American tour that concludes on Sunday in Boston—were briefly thrown into doubt [when the orchestra] was informed that one of its cellists, a longtime Hungarian citizen, would not be allowed to enter the United States because he also held citizenship in Iraq, one of the seven predominantly Muslim countries named in the [new U.S. travel] ban.” Fischer called U.S. officials to protest. “The next day … Trump administration officials announced that dual citizens would be allowed to enter the country.… The behind-the-scenes musical diplomacy was one of the more dramatic moments as the classical field adapts to a changing United States during the Trump era. The travel ban has drawn criticism from the League of American Orchestras and from Deborah Borda, the president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.… The Seattle Symphony planned a free Wednesday concert of music from the countries it targeted. And Christoph von Dohnanyi, the former music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, wrote a denunciation of the ban.”

Posted February 10, 2017