Virtuoso American organist blasts UK border officials after being detained and deported just hours before a show

 

A Grammy-nominated classical musician has raged against UK immigration officials who he said detained him for seven hours at Birmingham airport and deported him before finally allowing him back into the country the following day to perform.

Flamboyant American organist Cameron Carpenter said he was also questioned and fingerprinted by Border Force officials and kept in a short-term holding facility run by Tascor, the private security firm he described as “the creepy, vague, Orwellian detention subcontractor [HM Border Force] use to keep people awake in brightly lit rooms filled with tearstained children’s toys and assorted religious texts".

Having arrived from Berlin at 10.30pm on Monday for the latest leg of a 31-date global tour, Mr Carpenter says he was escorted onto the next flight back to Germany at 7am the following morning by armed police.

Writing on his Facebook page, Mr Carpenter said: “HM Immigration in Birmingham were totally unaware of the laws governing Permitted Paid Engagement - the three words artists entering the UK really need to know (in addition to Only Go Heathrow).”

Thanking the International Artist Managers’ Association who advised him on his rights, Mr Carpenter showered and returned to England only to be detained again for a brief period and arrived just in time to play at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on Wednesday, 19 March.

He said: “Finally the supervisor realized that I had the right to enter. Which I did, and I'm here in Birmingham, about 26 hours later. I’ve missed 66 per cent of my practice time, which isn’t fair to the audience, but I will appear.”

A keyboard child prodigy, Mr Carpenter signed a lucrative recording contract with Sony last year. He was in the UK with his International Touring Organ, which his website describes as “a monumental digital organ of his own design”. He is in England for another week and will play at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 29 March.

Keeping with his image as “the bad boy of the organ world” Mr Carpenter posted a picture online giving two fingers to his deportation notice. He said: “I got your majesty’s service right here, pal.”

Writing after the concert, Mr Carpenter said: “A huge thanks to Symphony Hall Birmingham for hosting me and hanging on through the uncertainties of the last couple of days - and for the against-the-clock all-day rehearsals today to pull together the recital under adverse circumstances.”

A spokeswoman for Tascor said: “While we do not comment on individual detainees, I can confirm that Tascor does not operate in the capacity of the UK border agency and plays no role whatsoever in the decision to detain particular individuals, in questioning or in fingerprinting.” 

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are aware of Mr Carpenter’s case and are looking into the circumstances.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003