Turkey seizes a conductor’s baton

January 28, 2018 by norman lebrecht


Alexander Ali Rahbari was going through security at Antalya airport yesterday when Turkish border police confiscated his baton on the grounds that it was a dangerous weapon.

Rahbari, 69, has been using the same baton for 30 years and has checked it in his hand luggage through hundreds of airports. He is a regular guest conductor of the Antalya State Symphony Orchestra. Now he has nothing to wave at them.

Comments (19)

  1. Rgiarola says:

    It’s sounds like a Monty Phyton sketch!

  2. Mustafa Islam says:

    The only good conductor is a bus conductor. Why do Turks need music of Indidels. Our Great Leader, Erdogan, says chants of Koran from minarets is our music. Ottomans did not conquer Europe with Bach or Mozart- decadent art.

  3. Patrick says:

    Are you kidding? Batons can be incredibly dangerous. They kill composers every single day.

    1. Ozan says:

      This made my day:)

    2. Thomasina says:

      Seriously I have heard that Toscanini stabbed his baton in the hand of a violinist and Solti also pierced his own head with his baton.

    3. Jett Hitt says:

      That was precious.

    4. neil says:

      They can be sharpened and made into a pointed stick. Can also be cut in half which is twice as dangerous

  4. Gaddi says:

    Had the same problem a year ago when passing through Istanbul.
    They checked my batons and I really had to show them my scores and convince them I was a musician. The only airport in which it happened to me until now.
    They’re weird.

  5. Nurhan Arman says:

    Back in 2002, I had a similar experience after a tour with Symphony New Brunswick. I was not allowed to board the plane because of carrying a ‘sharp object’. Even though the other passengers recognized me and told who I was, the unbending security officer kept showing her security booklet saying “no sharp objects”. I gave up and had to check in my carry-on as luggage.

  6. herrera says:

    No more phallic symbols. No more patriarchical domination from the podium.

    Let conductors conduct with vulva shaped soft and pliable objects that open and receive music instead of rigidly jabbing at music.

    1. Sasha says:

      Hear hear!

  7. anon says:

    Would you really want Charles Dutoit or James Levine sitting next to you on an overnight flight holding their batons?

  8. Kooshy says:

    Ali Rahbari is an Iranian conductor

  9. Ruben Greenberg says:

    Is a red baton a Baton Rouge?

  10. Jaime Herrera says:

    Is Gergiev allowed to bring a toothpick on board? That’s a sharp object too.

    1. The Voice from America says:

      Only if it’s menthol-flavored.

  11. Fred says:

    Rahbari is really a great conductor much much greaters than so many geniuses on the podium

  12. Vittorio Parisi says:

    I have had a similar experience in Constanta Airport, Romania, when I was called by the officers in charge to explain what that strange thing was. My batons were in my luggage, I explained them what those objects were and we started to laugh together. Anyway it is better not to have batons in hand luggage to avoid problems.

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