NY Philharmonic abandons trip to Cuba

The New York Philharmonic has abandoned its scheduled visit to Cuba, following news that the U.S. government would not allow patrons to accompany the orchestra.

Around 130 patrons of the orchestra had pledged $10,000 (£6,281) each to spend the weekend of 30 October to 2 November in Havana and attend the orchestra’s two concerts.

The New York Philharmonic’s players and staff members were granted the licenses necessary to visit Cuba, but its donors were refused access, since they did not come under any permit category, according to US authorities. The New York Philharmonic’s President, Zarin Mehta, says that the patrons were to cover the costs of the trip, and he would not want to insult them by going ahead with a trip in which they could not take part.

The NY Philharmonic was invited to perform by the Cuban government. Last year the orchestra attracted attention when it gave a concert in another Communist-ruled state, North Korea.  It hopes to resolve the Cuban travel restriction issues and reschedule the concerts.