international customs

A String Player’s Guide to the Ivory Ban

If you plan to travel abroad this summer, you may need a passport… for your bow. Horror stories have been circulating about the confiscation of string players’ bows at international borders due to the recent “ivory ban.” On Saturday, May 31st, seven bows belonging to members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra were seized at JFK Airport (these did not have proper documentation, and have since been released). More alarming – a bow owned by a double-bassist in the Bavarian Radio Orchestra has been held at JFK since the orchestra passed through in mid-May, as it was found to contain a piece of bone from […]

Amtrak Charging for Cellos? – by Paul Katz

Amtrak Charging for Cellos? - by Paul Katz The joys of a musical touring career continue! An Amtrak official recently stopped me from boarding a train to Boston in New York's Penn Station, telling me that I must buy a seat for my cello!" I've been traveling Amtrak for 50 years and never once have I had to pay for the cello," I protested. "I don't make the rules, and I don't know what trains you've been riding, but it's on our website, so there is no way you can get on until you get a ticket." The train was leaving in 15 minutes, so what the hell - furious and furiously, I ran to the ticket window and bought a second seat! But later I checked Amtrak's website and discovered [...]

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