Venezuela’s National Youth Orchestra visit to Ravinia canceled

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In this Jan. 1, 2017 file photo, maestro Gustavo Dudamel of Venezuela conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during the traditional New Year’s Concert at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria. | AP Photo/Ronald Zak, File

Politics and music are making for uneasy bedfellows these days.

The highly anticipated Ravinia Festival debut of conductor Gustavo Dudamel’s acclaimed National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela scheduled for Sept. 4 has been canceled, as have all the orchestra’s planned touring stops in the U.S. including at the Wolf Trap Festival outside Washington, D.C., in Los Angeles (where Dudamel serves as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic), and in San Francisco.

Dudamel on Twitter Monday called the cancellation “heartbreaking” and said he would continue “to fight for a better Venezuela.”

According to the Associated Press, Dudamel gave no reason for the cancellation, but President Nicolas Maduro last week blasted Dudamel, accusing him of being duped by Venezuela’s enemies into criticizing the government that has for years been one of his biggest promoters.

A statement issued by Ravinia said that the festival hopes to bring the orchestra back in the future and adds, “We wish our friends in Venezuela courage and hope in this challenging time.”

The 180 young musicians of the orchestra are said to have been rehearsing for three months for the four-city tour to the U.S.  Dudamel is scheduled to tour China with another government orchestra in October.

Note: Refunds for Ravinia ticketholders will be issued automatically to the original source of payment.

Contributing: Associated Press

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