Soloist accuses Toronto security of ‘attacking’ her violin

Soloist accuses Toronto security of ‘attacking’ her violin


norman lebrecht

July 20, 2017

The Canadian soloist Yi-Jia Susanne Hou has said her 300 year-old violin was maltreated by security agents at Pearson airport. ‘They basically attacked my violin before I had a chance to do anything about it,’ she says.

The violinist, 39, was flying to Brazil via Miami on a day when new US security measures came into force. She is looking at filing an official complaint against the Toronto security officials.

All artists travelling to or via the US need to make themselves aware of this week’s security enhancements.




  • V. Lind says:

    This is the Americans. Long before 9/11 and subsequent abuses of power,US Customs at airports was thuggish and brutal. at a time when I was flying all over the world and had lots to compare it to, the American airport customs were the worst I knew. And I knew them in Canadian airports.

    9/11 scared all of us and most nations and airlines made adjustments, some seemingly pointless (You can’t carry enough moisturiser to get through a short flight in that ghastly air, let alone a long one, nor enough mouthwash to deplane without evil breath). But the US initially used 9/11 to impose the sort of barbaric security measures it had longed to do for years, and created a national paranoia that justifies its incremental increases. This has led to their under-trained, underpaid and undermotivated Customs and airline ground staffs getting ever more tyrannical, arbitrary and paranoid. No item is safe from their crude attentions, and of course they would never believe a violin could be worth a serious sum of money.

  • John Sullivan says:

    To Brazil via Miami. Hmm, help me out here. Just where/how does Toronto come into this?

    • Michael Smith says:

      Toronto Pearson airport is in Toronto, which is where Toronto comes into this.

    • MacroV says:

      She’s originating in Toronto, where US ICE has a pre-clearance operation (i.e. you go through immigration/customs inspection and then enter the US as though on a domestic flight).