Iraq youth orchestra forced to cancel U.S. tour

Posted on: June 20, 2014

In Thursday’s (6/19) Daily Herald (Elgin, Illinois), Elena Ferrarin reports, “The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq canceled its long-in-the-making U.S. debut, which was to feature two concerts at Elgin Community College in August followed by performances in New York City and Washington, D.C.… The instability in Iraq has made it impossible for the musicians to complete the U.S. visa process that would have allowed them to travel next month, said Rachel Maley of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. Maley coordinated the Iraqi musicians’ suburban stay, helping secure the performance venue and accommodations. Protocol requires people to have in-person interviews to secure visas, Maley said…. The Iraqi orchestra’s music director, Paul MacAlindin, based in Germany, said via telephone last week he had tried to make a U.S. tour happen for years. EYSO music director Randal Swiggum contacted him via email earlier this year, MacAlindin said. As a result, sponsors and donors had come together to make the U.S. tour happen, which would have been an especially emotional one for the orchestra, MacAlindin said. The orchestra has performed in Germany, France and the United Kingdom…. Maley said there’s been some discussion about hosting the Iraqi orchestra next year, but it’s too early to tell if that will happen.”

Posted June 20, 2014