Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Musicians are furious after a 17th Century string instrument worth £148,000 was severely damaged during a flight


The viola de gamba was smashed in half. Pic: Myrna Herzog.

-Musicians tell of an increasing lack of confidence in airlines to properly look after their precious instruments.



-Myrna Herzog claims she was forced to place her viola de gamba in the hold during an Alitalia flight from  Rio de Janeiro to Tel Aviv.

-She posted photos of the damaged instrument on social media, showing it smashed in half with the hard  case partly destroyed.
Musicians have expressed their outrage. Pic: Myrna Herzog


Fellow musicians have expressed dismay and anger at the way the beautiful instrument, which is slightly smaller than a cello and was popular with Henry VIII, was handled.

Mrs Herzog, director of Israeli classical music group Phoenix, said she asked to purchase a seat for her viol but was told the flight on 3 January was full.

She said they told her it would have to be put in the hold and was assured it would be hand carried and treated as a fragile item.

The Brazil-born musician did not see the instrument during her stop-over in Rome and when she arrived in Tel Aviv she had to go to the baggage reclaim desk as it did not appear.

"They went down to find it, and got back saying that it had arrived broken, and that I had to fill a form," she told musical news website the Strad.

"After I did so they brought it, and the sight was really horrific. Even they were horrified."


Mrs Herzog said over the past 40 years she has travelled with many viols but there is a growing "disrespect for the musician".

Thousands of musicians have taken to social media to support the director.

Mark Wickersham said: "This is beyond tragic. No amount of money can bring an ancient voice back to our world once it is silenced."

Patti Murray Lucas said: "All of us musicians are traumatised and horrified at the sight of this senseless carelessness! I am SO sorry."

However, some accused Dr Herzog of being careless. Paolo Tagliamento said: "Every musician buys an extra ticket if the instrument is not hand luggage.

"This is just a big lack of responsibility, 99% probability that this can happen. Never leave your instrument in somebody else's hands."

Daniel Temnik added: "Next time buy a seat… like every other self-respecting musician does."

Alitalia said it "regretted" what happened but claimed she did not request an extra seat and after being offered one she refused despite being told "the best solution for such a delicate item was to bring it with her in the cabin".

A statement added: "That said, Alitalia deeply regrets what happened to Mrs Herzog and will proceed, having established the facts, with the reimbursement in compliance with the international regulations in force."

Mrs Herzog has refuted Alitalia's claim about being offered a seat, saying it is "a blatant lie".

No comments:

Post a Comment