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By Culturekiosque Staff

NEW YORK, 26 SEPTEMBER 2010 — Two previously announced concerts of the New York Philharmonic in the Republic of Georgia have been cancelled by the Government of Georgia. The concerts were to have taken place on 21 October (Tbilisi) and 22 (Batumi), 2010, and were to have been the New York Philharmonic’s debut in Georgia, and the opening concerts of the Orchestra’s Europe / Autumn 2010 tour.

Following an invitation from the Government of Georgia in October 2009, and a visit there in late February 2010 by New York Philharmonic President and Executive Director Zarin Mehta, with key staff members and associates, the Philharmonic worked closely and cooperatively with the Georgian Ministry of Culture to plan the logistical and operational aspects of the journey.

On Friday, 10 September 2010, the Philharmonic received a letter from the Government of Georgia stating that, the negotiated agreement for these concerts notwithstanding, the visit was cancelled. Although the terms had been clearly agreed for many months, the correspondence cited budgetary constraints. Despite the advocacy of senior U.S. officials, the Government of Georgia has declined to reverse its decision. This unilateral dismissal of an agreement by the Government of Georgia comes at considerable cost to the New York Philharmonic.

"The New York Philharmonic has embarked, proudly, on milestone journeys of cultural exchange, to vanguard destinations, at key moments in its prolific history," said Zarin Mehta in a press statement. "We have been treated consistently with the respect and dignity I believe this great institution, its Musicians, and its Music Director have earned and deserve. I am frankly shocked at this action on the part of the Government of Georgia, and regret the unfortunate culmination of this honorable pursuit. It will not deter us from future, similar, worthy undertakings."

The Europe / Winter 2010 tour of the New York Philharmonic will now begin in Belgrade, Serbia, on Sunday, 24 October. Tour dates include concerts in Ljubljana, Warsaw, Vilnius, Hamburg, Paris and Luxembourg.

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