Andras Schiff’s partner loses viola and 3 bows on a train

Andras Schiff’s partner loses viola and 3 bows on a train


norman lebrecht

February 04, 2016

The virtuoso Hariolf Schlichtig was just back from a tour with the pianist Sir Andras Schiff.



He was on his way to teach at Munich University on Monday when he remembered he had left his viola and three precious bows on the S-Bahn S1 regional train at Munich Hauptbahnhof.

No trace has been seen of them since.

The viola was custom made for Schichtig by luthier Wolfgang Scharff. The bows are French.




  • Holly Golightly says:

    This must be a musician’s greatest nightmare!! Dreadful.

  • V.Lind says:

    Once again, it seems to me incredible that this happens SO OFTEN to musicians. There must be a self-protective gene missing in them, one that does not do what most sensible people do when they leave somewhere to go somewhere else: Now, have I got everything?

    And when you are carrying something of such clear value…

    Of course I am sympathetic and hope the viola and bows are returned. But I might be more so if this was the first time I had heard this story. Unfortunately it is becoming one of the leitmotifs of Slipped DIsc.

    The consolation, from another one: unlikely any miscreant will be able to get it away by air!

    • Christopher Wilke says:

      Why blame the victim? Musicians travel a lot more than the average person and they often have many irons in the fire – performing, teaching, publishing, recording, etc. In traveling, the very frequency of being so often outside one’s familiar surroundings and ordinary routine makes it far more likely that a slip up will occur for even the most clear headed of musicians.

  • Dileep Gangolli says:

    I too am amazed that this happens so often. I understand that it might happen once in a while. But this has a frequency that seems beyond comprehension.

    Why not just handcuff the instrument case to yourself when you are sleeping on the train?

    • Mon coeur s'oeuvre a ta voix says:

      One of my professors returned by ship from a month of research on his dissertation with his findings in a briefcase chained to his wrist, which he did not detach for the duration of the considerable journey. Un veritable chant d’aromes . . .

    • Nick says:

      Add me to the list! If the instrument provides your livelihood, it seems inconceivable that it is merely left on public transport because you just forgot it for whatever reason! Remember Yo-Yo Ma who left one of his Strads in a taxi trunk following a concert in New York? That instrument was reported at the time to be worth around US$2.5 million. Does anyone seriously believe a bag of cash totalling $2.5 million would have been forgotten – no matter how fatigued its owner might have been?

  • Nicola Lefanu says:

    It seems to happen more often to viola players than violinists.

  • Mon coeur s'oeuvre a ta voix says:

    Alicia DellaRocha lost a small suitcase full of scores between the cargo unloading dock and the baggage carousels in Kennedy Airport while on concert tour. The news made the front page of the New York Times, where a substantial reward was announced. I don’t know if the little case was ever recovered. A lifetime of fingerings, gone.

  • Noralee Walker says:

    Musicians are human and subject to moments of absent-mindedness like other humans… I don’t think we suffer from this more than other people; we just happen to travel around with thousands of dollars on our backs/over our shoulders/etc. EVERY SINGLE DAY. (Almost.) Misplacing a briefcase or purse isn’t nearly as noteworthy, but that happens daily, too.