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RPO in the running for two Grammys

Nov. 19, 2019 -- The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has earned two Grammy nominations.

"American Rapture" was nominated in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo and Best Classical Contemporary Composition caretgories. The recording was directed by RPO conductor Ward Stare and featured soloist Yolanda Kondonassis.

The Grammys will be held January in Los Angeles.

Eastman School reverse decision on China tour

Oct. 29, 2019 -- The University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music has reversed course and canceled a tour of China following that country's refusal to allow the group's three South Korean musicians to perform.

Eastman Dean Jamal Rossi issued a statement saying the tour would be postponed until everyone could go.

"I believe that given the particular circumstances of this tour, the best course of action for the Eastman community and the values we share is to wait until the Philharmonia can perform as one," Rossi wrote.

Rossi said China's refusal to approve visas was in response to the United States' decision to deploy a missile defense system in South Korea in 2016.

After announcing that the tour would go forward, Rossi said, university officials continued to try to obtain visas for the South Korean students through various channels.

Eastman Philharmonia stands by plan to tour China

Oct. 24, 2019 -- The Eastman Philharmonia is sticking with plans for one of its most ambitious tours in decades despite a decision by China to refuse to issue entry visa for three South Korean performers.

Congressional leaders and the Chinese consulate were not able to intervene in reversing the policy, which has been in effect since 2016. Members of the ensemble voted in favor of going by a 2-to-1 margin.

"We were suddenly caught right in the middle of this. It was really a challenging decision to make," said Jamal Rossi, Dean of the Eastman School of Music. "Do we discontinue the tour without the valued colleagues or do we still go forward?"

Rossi said he made the decision to proceed after meeting with the group and speaking to the students who would be left behind.

"They were unified in saying (they) still wanted this tour to go forward and that was very helpful to hear," Rossi said.

Eastman School ensembles regularly tour internationally, but it's been 30 years since a tour has been undertaken by such a large group. Starting in December, the Eastman Philharmonia will tour eight cities in China over 12 days.

"Music exists to express something we can't express in any other way," Rossi said. "We have a chance to do this with a culture that I know embraces and loves classical music."



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