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New York Philharmonic mulls historic trip to Cuba

The New York Philharmonic, which broke new ground with a performance to North Korea and has accepted an invitation to Vietnam, is considering a trip to Cuba.

The New York Philharmonic, which broke new ground with a performance to North Korea and has accepted an invitation to Vietnam, is considering a trip to Cuba.

Philharmonic officials confirmed Thursday that the world-renowned orchestra had an official invitation to Havana.

President Zarin Mehta and a delegation from the philharmonic were to travel to Havana Friday to examine Cuba's concert halls and hotels.

The U.S. has restrictions on travel to Cuba by Americans who are not Cuban exiles, but orchestra officials said they have been granted travel licences.

The official visit by the classical orchestra is planned for October, just days after an Asian tour that will take in Vietnam.

If it takes place, it will cement the New York Philharmonic's growing reputation as an ambassador to the communist world.

The Cuban visit would last three or four days and include two concerts under the baton of incoming music director Alan Gilbert.

The musical program has yet to be established. 

The trip also has a blessing from Washington, Mehta told the New York Times, with the office of Vice President Joe Biden giving its approval.

Mehta said he planned to ask the Cubans to guarantee access to American journalists during the official trip.

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