Musicians hit by the “9/11-effect”



United Kingdom / USA:
Musicians hit by the “9/11-effect”

Anti-terror security causes problems for touring musicians

Renewed fear of terror in the wake of Britain’s foiled terrorist plot to blow up airplanes led to tighter restrictions on air travel in August 2006. Expensive musical instruments are no longer allowed on the plane as carry-on baggage from London, and this has lead to cancellations of concerts and tours.

A 300-year-old violin can be damaged if placed in the cold cargo area of a plane. Since classical musicians often travel with very expensive and fragile, old instruments, and since many of them even have signed an insurance contract which requires them to keep their instruments with them at all times, the new restrictions on hand luggage onboard a plane has made it increasingly difficult for them to tour.

At the Edinburgh International Festival, one of Britain’s major summer music festivals, several major events were cancelled this summer. Among these, the performance of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. The New York-based orchestra had planned a tour in Britain for its 100 musicians to perform at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London as well as at the Edinburgh International Festival. It spent two years planning the trip and many months carefully polishing the programs, which were to have been broadcast in the United States. The new hand luggage restrictions forced them to cancel all of it.

There are numerous similar reports. The violin virtuoso and conductor Pinchas Zukerman told International Herald Tribune that security officials had asked him to remove the strings of his 1742 Guarneri del Gesù.
“I’ve had unbelievable discussions at certain airports,” he said. “They want to stick their hands in my instruments, and they say, ‘It’s my job.’ “

Julian Lloyd Webber has experienced similar problems traveling with his priceless 1690 “Barjansky” Stradivarius.

In USA, another result of 9/11 is the length of time required to receive a visa. Because of this several prominent international artists and musicians have been unable to attend events for which they were scheduled to appear in the United States.


BBC News – 11 August 2006:
‘Cabin baggage ban hits musicians’

International Herald Tribune / New York Times – 16 August 2006:

‘Music: For orchestras, a flying conundrum’

Post-Gazette – 30 August 2006:
‘Music on the move: Transporting PSO is like maneuvering an army’

IC Northwales – 8 September 2006:
‘Soon all you’ll hear will be local cellists’

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