BSO cellist denied entry to UK to perform free concert with chamber group
While we're all busy obsessing over aggressive pat downs (a.k.a. gropings) at American airports, consider another kind of hassle experienced by Kristin Ostling, a cellist with the Baltimore Symphony.
Ostling is on leave from the BSO this season and, among other pursuits away from her pals at Meyerhoff Hall, expected to play a free gig at the University of Leeds in England with the Carpe Diem Quartet. But last weekend, she didn't make it past UK Border Agency officials at Heathrow.
The Guardian's Tom Service reports that Ostling
was questioned for eight hours by officials at Terminal 3 ... refused entry to the country, forced to sign written statements, and sent back on a plane to Chicago. The reason? Her performance at the University of Leeds ... for which she was receiving no fee, and no expenses, either, was deemed to be 'work', and she was therefore not allowed in on her visa. The extraordinary thing is that
Seems as if the university over there was supposed to first check around the UK and EU countries to see if another quartet would do the gig for free, before even asking the Americans. Bizarre.
Here's hoping that Tom Service's blog post about the odd incident will lead to some sort of corrective action.
PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN COLBERG