Theft alert: Los Angeles principal has cello stolen from his hotel room

Theft alert: Los Angeles principal has cello stolen from his hotel room


norman lebrecht

August 09, 2018

From John Walz, principal cellist of Los Angeles Opera:


This is a post I’d hoped I’d never have to write, but I need to get the word out there. Yesterday I checked into my hotel in San Diego, went out to dinner, and when I came back, my room had been broken into, everything stolen – including my cello. I’m still in shock, friends have been wonderful!!! Though apparently the San Diego police don’t think this is important enough to even send one officer over to the hotel to take a report.


The instrument is a 2010 Mario Miralles.

UPDATE: Found.




  • Doug says:

    Keep on pushing for open borders and the police will only get more busy.

    • Bill says:

      Don’t you have a life, or at least a hobby to keep your little mind occupied?

    • V.Lind says:

      Interesting that people who feel this way all feel the need to keep their faces covered.

    • Anon says:

      What does this have to do with a stolen cello?

      What everyone says about you is correct, Doug. What you post has nothing to do with the thread nor is it remotely interesting to those of us reading.

  • John Borstlap says:

    A grotesque story, and truly terrible. Who would ever steal a cello? Hopefully the burglar will realize in due course that the only thing you can do with it, is playing it, because selling will be quite difficult (who would want to buy a stolen cello?).

    It is almost as bizar a story as the organ which had disappeared from a big protestant church in Brandenburg in 2012, an instrument with 4000 pipes and a 17C case, which was found 8 months later in a derelict barn in Westphalia (stolen by a Hell’s Angels gang).

  • Thomasina says:

    I don’t think Mr.Walz checked in a cheap hotel. Did that happened at a hotel of some high grade and his cello was stolen?

    • LP says:

      The Town and country hotel. Not very cheap but not high grade either. I have read somewhere that it will be demolished soon.

  • Frank says:

    Regarding this sort of theft, to quote a central figure in my own saga a few years ago, “don’t ever underestimate the nitwit factor”. Of course I’m referring to the perps, not Mr. Walz; hopefully his cello will surface soon. The hotel aspect is interesting……

  • Philippa Ballard says:

    “The thief also made off with some expensive cello bows, a computer, backpack and glasses Walz needs to perform with……..Police also said Walz’s was the only room at the hotel burglarized,”

  • Rgiarola says:

    Again LA! A decade ago Mr. Peter Stumpf the principal of LA Philharmonic had his precious instrument stolen from his house. Later police found the rouber and the cello.

    Bad lucky around holywood area, it’s seems. The messyah did not make any miracle regarding this situation also. Ohohoh!

    • Eaglearts says:

      You’ve got your story a bit mixed up. Stumpf left the cello on his front porch in Los Feliz at the end of the night, a passerby took it and then left it next to a dumpster in Silver Lake. It was found by a couple who later turned it in once they heard the report and realized it was a Strad! Also, the theft of Walz’s cello took place in San Diego, not Los Angeles.

  • luigi nonono says:

    I’d recommend immediately visiting all the local pawn shops, and also notifying them, and any music dealers of the theft, and how to identify the instrument. It was most likely a hotel employee, so the hotel should be sued. And if the police did not assign a detective, sue them, too. This is a major theft and should have been immediately treated as such. Hopefully, it was insured for replacement value and you can get a better instrument. Robert Jamieson’s (Minnesota Orchestra) cello may be for sale soon.

  • Roger Lebow says:

    John Walz’s cello was found unscathed and returned to him.