CANCELLED: Friday’s Concert at EMPAC at RPI

December 5th, 2017, 10:00 am by Greg

The folks at EMPAC at RPI in Troy have announced that the performance by Iranian percussionist Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, which was scheduled for Friday (December 8) has been cancelled due to visa-processing delays.

Mr. Mortazavi was originally scheduled to perform at EMPAC back in March of 2017 but was unable to obtain the necessary visa due to an executive order by President Donald Trump restricting travel from a number of Muslim-majority countries.

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The performance was postponed and then rescheduled to the end of EMPAC’s Fall 2017 season and an application for an artist visa was submitted by EMPAC to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services in late May. An approval was received within two weeks and, after appointments at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, his application was placed in administrative processing. He was told that the application would be processed in due time and that he would receive notification when the visa was granted. The visa application for Mortazavi never cleared administrative processing, and he has not received any further communication from the Department of State.

Mortazavi is widely regarded as the world’s foremost virtuoso of the Tombak, a traditional Persian hand drum. At the age of nine, he won first prize in the prestigious Iranian Tombak competition and continued to dominate the competition for
the next six years. Having invented 30 new striking techniques for his instrument, Mortazavi is known for having revolutionized the Tombak as a solo instrument and, after moving to Berlin in 2001, has toured internationally.

This is the second time this year that an internationally renown performer has been unable to enter the U.S. in order to play a scheduled performance at EMPAC, following the cancellation of last month’s performance by Iranian dancer Ali Moini, also due to visa-processing delays.

In announcing the cancellation of Mortazavi’s concert, the press release read in part, “Open cultural exchange lies at the heart of the EMPAC program. Despite this unfortunate turn of events, EMPAC stands committed to the presentation of new and traditional art forms from a diverse roster of international performers and will continue to support and advance the work of those breaking ground at the periphery of the cultural norm.”

3 thoughts on “CANCELLED: Friday’s Concert at EMPAC at RPI”

  1. Mike says:

    Thanks, moron-in-chief…

  2. J Hunter says:

    This is what happens when you pick a Secretary of State who proceeds to de-employ all the career diplomats.

  3. Todd Nelson says:

    What a shame.

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