Unable to hire security, Israeli orchestra cancels U.S. tour

— The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra won't be going on a U.S. concert tour because it has been unable to find an American security firm to guard its 100 musicians, an orchestra official said Monday.

"We did not cancel the tour; they canceled us," orchestra chief executive Avi Shoshani said.

The orchestra was scheduled to perform next month in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, but it called off the U.S. leg of its international tour when it couldn't organize a security company to protect its musicians.

"All I know is that we signed a contract with our agent and that he could not find a security company for us," Shoshani said.

According to Shoshani, orchestra agent Allen Sviridoff had called a number of security firms to request their services at the outdoor concerts, but all had returned with the same answer: They were unwilling to take on the risk of terror attack.

Zeev Dorman, chairman of the orchestra, said, "We have never before experienced a cancellation of this kind. Usually cancellations are the result of funding problems � as in they could not sell enough tickets.

"But in this case, security is the official reason they gave us," he told Israel Radio.

Shoshani said the Israeli orchestra performed in January 2002 in the United States without any problems.

Shoshani said the orchestra intends to play at other concerts scheduled for August 2002 in Australia and for September 2002 in Taiwan.

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