More Japan Cancellations

Foreign musicians continue to cancel tours of Japan as the nuclear crisis in the northeastern part of the country continues.

Some ensembles, in fact, aren’t taking any chances and are canceling tours to nearby countries as well.

In late March, the French musical “Piaf: Une Vie En Rose,” which was scheduled for Taipei’s National Theater April 1-2, was canceled.

Moreover, the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet was to perform at Taipei’s National Concert Hall June 30 but pulled out the week before.

A representative for New Aspect Promotion, which was organizing both events, told Central News Agency that his company was surprised when both European groups canceled.

“They said they canceled all their shows in Asia for fear of radiation from Japan. The family members of the musicians were extremely worried, but Taiwan is pretty far away from Japan.”

Arrangements for the two concert series were made about a year ago, and New Aspect has been receiving complaints from ticket-buyers.

In many cases, Asian tours have been canceled because Japan, the second-largest music market in the world, was one of the stops and is usually one of the main economic incentives for an Asian tour.

The Orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, headed by Zubin Mehta, went ahead with its Taiwan concerts after axing six of its Tokyo performances due to energy conservation issues following the disaster. However, the orchestra did perform in Tokyo the day after the quake as well as the following Monday. In fact, when the quake struck the orchestra was in rehearsal and had to walk four hours back to its hotel.

Radiation fears have even spread to South Korea. The Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, which was scheduled to open the Tongyeong International Music Festival March 26, pulled out of the event because of radiation fears.

“Despite our best efforts to assure safety, the orchestra notified us of the cancellation March 23 citing concerns about radiation leakage from Japan,” A festival rep told the Korean Herald. “While the Korean government officially announced that the radiation leakage in Japan will not affect Korea, and more than 150 other artists plan to visit Tongyeong for the 2011 TIMF, the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra’s concert cancellation seems to have been affected by Austrians’ traumatic memory of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.”

The orchestras’ two concerts at the festival were already sold out.

One other classical artist, Russian-Belgian violinist Vadim Repin, contributed all his fees from his first-ever Taiwan concert March 30 to the victims in Japan.

The 40-year-old musician has played in Japan every year since his Tokyo debut in 1985.

“I have many friends in Japan,” he told the Taiwan News.