Cello star has strings confiscated at airport

From Amit Peled:

I just performed with the Warsaw Philharmonic the Penderecki concerto last night for the Maestro’s 85th birthday celebration.
I wanted to let you know that for the first time in my life ALL strings were taken away from me right now (4:30 am) at the airport’s security checkpoint claiming that it is too dangerous to take them on board….
I have always carried an extra set of strings with me and was never asked to give them away!!! Well, at least they didn’t take the cello claiming that the endpin could be used to stab somebody… Or maybe the security guy is a cellist and wanted a free set…?

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  • Dear Amit,

    Now that you mentioned it, the next time they will take the endpin too, since you recognize that it can be used to stab someone…

  • The Warsaw Airport is a problem. Many poorly-trained arrogant employees who may never have seen a school from the inside.

  • If they took them away they should have had them for you at your destination.
    I do know of an oboe player who flew from LA to Chicago a few years after 9-11 who did not have her reed knife confiscated … go figure!

    • A flute in its case looks like a pipe bomb on the x-ray scanner. I used to have to open the case with regularity in the 80’s and 90’s to prove it was not a bomb, but never once after 9/11. Go figure.

    • Don’t forget these were only his spare strings. Personally I keep my garotte wound around the A peg, which is a perfect disguise for airport security. It doesn’t sound great in Brahms double, but with Penderecki you hardly notice a thing

    • A suitable piece of monofilament nylon could be woven through a piece of clothing, bag frame, etc. and would not be apparent to most security screeners. Or a paracord bracelet. But to what point? It’s not a practical weapon against an adversary who can see you coming, and you’re not going to get the cockpit door open. You could batter someone to death with a roll of coins knotted in a sleeve from a long-sleeved shirt, too. Same result: you disable or maybe kill one flight crew member or passenger, and the rest of them return the favor to you.

  • This happened a number of years ago to a cellist coming to solo with my husband’s orchestra; this is the only other occurrence I’ve heard of. Clearly, both that gate agent and this one had seen a few too many Godfather movies!

  • Bassoonist, beware! I’ve published a crime novel where the murder is done with the twine used to hold reeds together. So be careful when you come to an airport with your reeds and a repair set. 😉

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