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BSO Cancels East Asia Tour As Alarm Over Coronavirus Grows

Boston Symphony Orchestra with music director Andris Nelsons. (Courtesy)
Boston Symphony Orchestra with music director Andris Nelsons. (Courtesy)

The Boston Symphony Orchestra canceled a planned tour to East Asia due to concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus, which has infected thousands of people worldwide. On Jan. 27, the CDC recommended all nonessential travel to China be suspended.

“On behalf of Andris Nelsons and the musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, we are all deeply disappointed that we will not be able to perform for the wonderful audiences in Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong and Shanghai,” BSO President and CEO Mark Volpe said in a statement released Thursday morning.

The BSO’s tour was originally scheduled for Feb. 6-16. The orchestra said it was considering scheduling some local performances, including a free community concert, during the two weeks it would have been on tour. It intends to make a formal announcement by early next week.

“The orchestra and I love to tour and we were so looking forward to our first performances together in these cities and bringing the music of the BSO to these extraordinary places. Please know that we are all passionately committed to a future visit to East Asia soon,” BSO music director Andris Nelsons said in the orchestra’s statement. “Most importantly, our hearts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by the coronavirus.”

The BSO’s trip to Seoul was to have been its first appearance in South Korea. This is the second time its plans to visit the country have been thwarted. In 1960, a scheduled performance in Seoul was canceled due to political unrest.

China has confirmed 170 deaths from the coronavirus. The CDC has reported 5 cases in the United States.

Amelia Mason Twitter Arts And Culture Reporter
Amelia Mason is an arts and culture reporter and critic for The ARTery, WBUR's arts and culture team. She covers everything from fine art to television to the inner workings of the Boston music scene.

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