Orchestras Struggle to Cope With New Travel Restrictions

Classic Arts News   Orchestras Struggle to Cope With New Travel Restrictions
The restrictions placed on carry-on luggage following the terrorist threat to transatlantic flights last week are having a drastic effect on the touring plans of orchestras, reports The New York Times.

The Orchestra of St. Luke's announced on Monday (August 14) that it was forced to cancel concerts scheduled for tonight and tomorrow at the Edinburgh Festival and the BBC Proms, respectively, due to the travel restrictions and flight cancellations. The Times reports that the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra, all about to depart for European festival performances, are now also struggling with the new rules.

International ensembles are faring no better. On August 11, the Novosti news agency reported that Alexander Vedernikov, chief conductor of the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet (which have been performing at London's Royal Opera House this summer) was worried that valuable instruments, which musicians usually take as carry-on luggage, would face severe damage in the hold. "I saw two violins in the baggage, which is unacceptable. Musicians from the Bolshoi will be returning from their London tour later in the month, so we will have to choose a new route," Novosti quoted Vedernikov as saying.

It is stipulated in their contracts that Bolshoi musicians must not be separated from their instruments, many of which are on loan from a state collection. A spokeswoman confirmed to The New York Times that the Bolshoi orchestra will ship its instruments to Moscow by ferry if the restrictions are not eased.

Musicians in the Minnesota Orchestra, which is departing Sunday for its European tour, will also have to pack their instruments, according to the Times. Likewise the Philadelphia Orchestra, which will perform at the Proms early next month. But both these orchestras own crates suitable for safe transport, unlike the Orchestra of St. Luke's, which tours infrequently, the paper adds.

The orchestra spent two years planning the trip. Marianne C. Lockwood, its president and executive director, told the Times: "I'm heartbroken. I don't think I've been through 72 more anguished hours in my life."

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