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Q+A: Travelling with Instruments: five musicians speak out 1/5

Q+A: Travelling with Instruments: five musicians speak out 1/5 featured image

I did a Q+A with five musicians about the trials and tribulations of travelling with an instrument – or none, in the case of a pianist who doesn’t always get a great instrument upon arrival – and how complicated it can be. This is the first in a five-part series this week.

Instrument(s): Viola, violin
Main gig: Ensemble Masques, host of The New Classical FM 96.3 FM “A Little Night Music” & “Dinner Classics”, Baroque bon vivant

What frustrates you most about travelling with an instrument?
Never feeling like I’m travelling light. That and boarding stress – always the niggle that there won’t be overhead room on the plane and someone will try to make me check it. I made the mistake of allowing that only once.

Have you ever cancelled a concert because the travel was too risky for your instrument?

Yo-Yo Ma once infamously left his cello in the back of a New York City cab. (He got it back.) Have you ever misplaced the sheet music, crucial paraphernalia, or, god forbid, your actual instrument?
I have not – but baggage handling has, TWICE in 2 months! Sheet music (replaceable but a hassle) and concert clothes. Emergency dress shopping is not as fun as it sounds, especially in a strange city.

How many instruments have you ever stuffed into a car or van?
Let’s see… I don’t think my personal count is so impressive, but I’ve been there when we had to fit a double bass, a violone (Baroque instrument a bit smaller than a double bass), a cello, gamba (cello-sized) and six suitcases in a van. Plus people. Violins/violas on laps in that case!

Tomorrow: Cellist Matt Haimovitz

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