Unfriendly Skies for Many a Traveling Musician - Page 2
He’s heard similar stories from his violinist friends — some have been asked by TSA agents to remove the strings, he says, or even take the whole thing apart. TSA spokesman Nico Melendez says that security officials open cases only when a questionable object or liquid is detected through the X-ray machine.
And now, in a shaky global economy, some million-dollar instruments have become targets at customs counters. For instance, after a flight to London, cellist Adrian Brendel (son of pianist Alfred) was held by security until agents could determine the provenance of his cello, which was suspected of having been stolen.
And in August, officials at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, reportedly confiscated violinist Yuzuko Horigome’s 1741 Guarneri, valued at $1.2 million. The Wall Street Journal’s Japan Real Time website reported that officials asked for 190,000 euros (about $250,000) in import duty, citing a lack of proper ownership documents, which Horigome had left at home in Brussels. Also at customs at the Frankfurt airport, according to DigitalJournal.com, Yuki Manuela Janke’s $7.6-million Stradivarius violin was seized with the demand she pay the $1.5-million duty to retrieve it. Her case was finally resolved only through legal counsel.