Pittsburgh Symphony Mulls Return Trip to Iran

Friday, January 17, 2014 - 09:00 AM

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Michael Sahaida)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The last American orchestra to perform in Iran is considering what would be a groundbreaking return concert tour this fall.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra visited Iran a half-century ago. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports orchestra officials and the American Middle East Institute are in talks with Iran about a potential trip in September. But many hurdles remain given the countries' history of strained relations.

State Department adviser Gregg Sullivan says many details would have to be worked out for the tour to happen.

Orchestra and institute representatives plan an advance trip to Iran next month during the country's Fajr (fa'-juhr) International Music Festival.

Institute president Simin Curtis said if the tour happens, "it will be a sensation."

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Comments [3]

Barry Owen Furrer

Shoud PSO make this trip, it would give renewed meaning to the phrase "combat pay."

Jan. 21 2014 08:57 PM
John

Uugghhh. Who cares? I'm tired of the PSO's sensationalism. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from PSO Concerto Competition (2012). With this sensational online competition, the orchestra solicited unknown and unrepresented performers to compete for the chance to play with them and win $10,000. After narrowing the field to four qualified competitors, they turned their collective nose up during the final round in Pittsburgh. Apparently, the unknown and unrepresented performs weren't up to their standards... so no winner was chosen. Whom exactly did they expect to get? To add insult to injury, the PSO kept the prize money (which was a donation) rather than splitting it four ways (which would have been a courtesy for leading these performers on and wasting their time).

I think the PSO spends too much time thinking up sensational schemes. The concerto competition was a PR stunt, of course, and it would have been a nice one if they followed through. But, what I find so irksome is the way in which they used these young performers without (I believe) any intention of actually picking a winner. To say that I have less than charitable feelings towards my hometown orchestra would be an understatement; I will never see them perform or Manfred Honeck conduct ever again! Of all the orchestras disbanding for financial reasons, I wish this was one. Or rather, I'd like to see the heads of the higher-ups roll (metaphorically speaking).

If they are imprisoned in Iran for the blasphemy of playing music that's fine with me. Of course, I don't think they have any intention whatsoever of going there, it's just another empty PR move.

Jan. 21 2014 12:13 PM
David from Flushing

On 11-21-13, the US State Department issued a travel warning to Americans visiting Iran.

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/iran-travel-warning.html

Jan. 17 2014 05:05 PM

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