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Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Terror fears scupper orchestra tour
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein was the orchestra's Laureate Conductor
An Israeli orchestra has been forced to cancel a tour of the United States because of terrorism fears.

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was due to play in the US in August as part of a world tour - but it was feared that their performances could be targetted.

There were reports that the group could not find an insurance company willing to cover them for the trip, and that security firms were reluctant to guard the musicians and audiences.


We have never before experienced a cancellation of this kind

Zeev Dorman
Orchestra chairman
"We did not cancel the tour, they cancelled us," orchestra chief executive Avi Shoshani said.

"All I know is that we signed a contract with our agent and that he could not find a security company for us."

The orchestra was due to perform in cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, but is planning to go ahead with other concerts in Australia and Taiwan.

Orchestra chairman Zeev Dorman told Israeli radio: "We have never before experienced a cancellation of this kind.

"Usually cancellations are the result of funding problems - as in they could not sell enough tickets. But in this case, security is the official reason they gave us."

The orchestra performed in the United States in January without any problems, Mr Shoshani said.

Cancellations

They have also been hit by problems resulting from the threat of violence at home.

Half of the foreign artists due to appear with the orchestra in Israel had cancelled their trips due to the increased volatility in the region, Zubin Mehta, the orchestra's music director told the Washington Post.

"In the current production of Richard Strauss's opera Salome, we've had eight cancellations in the cast," he said.

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was created in 1947, with Leonard Bernstein as its Laureate Conductor for more than 40 years until his death in 1990.


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