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Coronavirus Concerns Cancel Tour Dates for Pop Groups, Rock Bands, Orchestras

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BTS, Green Day and the National Symphony Orchestra (from top) have all canceled upcoming tour dates in Asia.  (AP; Pamela Littky; NSO)

The coronavirus has begun to halt touring plans for some of the world’s biggest pop groups, rock bands and symphony orchestras.

K-pop superstars BTS canceled an upcoming concert series in South Korea’s capital as the country tries to contain the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

BTS, which performed at the Grammys and at New York’s Grand Central Terminal for The Tonight Show in recent weeks, is seen as an emblem of South Korea’s cultural and economic power. The canceled concerts were the inaugural leg of the band’s new world tour.

“We regret to announce that the BTS MAP OF THE SOUL TOUR … has been cancelled,” the band’s agency Big Hit Entertainment said, in a statement.

The management agency said the outbreak in South Korea, which has more than 2,000 cases so far, made it impossible to predict the scale of the outbreak by April 11-12 and April 18-19, when the group was set to perform at Seoul’s Olympic Stadium.


On Thursday, Bay Area rock band Green Day also canceled upcoming tour dates in March throughout Asia, including shows in Singapore, Bangkok, Manila, Taipei, Hong Kong, Seoul, Osaka and Tokyo.

“We have unfortunately made the difficult decision to postpone our upcoming shows in Asia due to the health + travel concerns with coronavirus,” the band said in a statement. “We know it sucks, as we were looking forward to seeing you all, but hold on to your tickets we’ll be announcing the new dates very soon.“

Also, the National Symphony Orchestra canceled the five remaining performances in Japan of its Asian tour due to the epidemic.

The orchestra originally was to play eight concerts in its first international tour with music director Gianandrea Noseda. On Feb. 4, the NSO called off shows in Beijing on March 13 and 14 and one in Shanghai on March 17.

In an announcement Thursday night, the orchestra scrapped performances from March 6-11 in Fukui, Sakai, Hiroshima and Tokyo. It cited a recommendation from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that major cultural events be canceled for the next two weeks.

“After multiple consultations with officials at U.S. government agencies and recommendations from the Japanese government, it became clear that these evolving circumstances are beyond our control,” NSO executive director Gary Ginstling said in a statement.

The NSO is based at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and hopes fill the void in its schedule with orchestra and chamber music in the Washington area.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra canceled an Asian tour from Feb. 6-16 that had included performances in Seoul, South Korea; Taipei, Taiwan; Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The COVID-19 illness caused by a new type of coronavirus has sickened tens of thousands of people, most of them in China. Japan and South Korea also have been hard hit among Asian countries.

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