Loud grumbles can be heard by travelers at this busy time of year under normal circumstances, but what is that noise going on with itinerant virtuosos carrying on board million-dollar-plus Strads and Guarneris on their way to concert dates?
It’s the sound of bureaucracy. And it’s overtaking what used to be a well-understood, mutually respectful transaction — between cellists (mostly) and the industry that transports them and their treasured instruments. Cellists have been bearing the brunt because their cargo is too precious to check as regular baggage but so large that it requires an extra cabin seat.
“Air Canada tried to put my cello in a bassinet like a baby but one that doesn’t wake and cry,” says droll London-based cellist Steven Isserlis. “And when they couldn’t get six seat belts around it, they threw us both off the plane!” [read]