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Topic: Traveling Through Customs with a Steinway

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  1. #1
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    Traveling Through Customs with a Steinway

    The Guardian reports:

    Krystian Zimerman, the great Polish concert pianist, is usually a man of few words. He doesn't, as a rule, talk to the audience during performances. He says little or nothing in the press between his all-too-rare concert tours - not even about his habit of travelling everywhere with his own Steinway grand piano. He rarely grants them the pleasure of an encore.

    So he triggered more than the usual rumble of discomfort when he raised his voice in the closing stages of a recital at Los Angeles' Disney Hall on Sunday night and announced he would no longer perform in the United States in protest against Washington's military policies.

    "Get your hands off my country," Zimerman told the stunned crowd in a denunciation of US plans to install a missile defence shield on Polish soil. Some people cheered, others yelled at him to shut up and keep playing.... Even more interesting is this, at the bottom of the story:
    Shortly after 9/11, his piano was confiscated by customs officials at New York's JFK airport, who thought the glue smelled funny. They subsequently destroyed the instrument.
    For several years he chose to travel with just the mechanical insides of his own piano and install them - he is a master piano repairer, as well as player - inside a Steinway shell he borrowed from the company in New York. In 2006 he tried to travel with his own piano again, only to have it held up in customs for five days and disrupt his performance schedule


    --------

    Another good reason to own an Authorized virtual Steinway...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sonare Coeli's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling Through Customs with a Steinway

    Man, I thought my double bass was bad enough to get through an airport domestically.

    I've never been through customs with anything larger than a backpack, and I wouldn't dare.

  3. #3

    Re: Traveling Through Customs with a Steinway

    Yeah, I tried fitting a Bosendorfer under the seat in front of me on a plane once. It didn't quite fit so I tried putting it in an overhead bin. That didn't work either.

    -Kevin
    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

  4. #4

    Re: Traveling Through Customs with a Steinway

    "Get your hands off my country...???" Jeez!

    Why doesn't he go on 60 Minutes or CNN to soapbox rather than making the poor schmucks who paid to see him play have listen to his rants? Obviously they aren't the ones putting missles in Poland and putting their "...hands on his country."

  5. #5

    Re: Traveling Through Customs with a Steinway

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan View Post
    Another good reason to own an Authorized virtual Steinway...
    Lol. The new slogan for the Authorized Steinway could be: So realistic you can smell the glue!

    Also, after reading that article at the Guardian, I wish they would have went with the title:
    Armed Glue Sniffers Smash Piano

  6. #6

    Re: Traveling Through Customs with a Steinway

    It's not much of a joke taking an instrument on a flight. I haven't travelled with the banjo for some years now but when I was travelling regularly with the same airline it was always an argument when I got on board the aircraft -

    'You'll have to put that in the hold sir'

    'Nope, the last time that happened the instrument was destroyed'

    'I insist you put it in the hold'

    'ok, then I'll take another flight, can you get my bags out of the hold please.'

    End of argument as that would delay the flight (I only had hand luggage but they didn't know that).

    The instrument would then be parked in an empty seat or stowed in the galley.

    I never had any problems with customs or security taking any instrument but have yet to try it with a Steinway

  7. #7

    Re: Traveling Through Customs with a Steinway

    Quote Originally Posted by elcabong View Post
    "Get your hands off my country...???" Jeez!

    Why doesn't he go on 60 Minutes or CNN to soapbox rather than making the poor schmucks who paid to see him play have to listen to his rants? Obviously they aren't the ones putting missles in Poland and putting their "...hands on his country."
    Amen to that!
    Larry G. Alexander
    www.alexandermusic.com

  8. #8

    Re: Traveling Through Customs with a Steinway

    Quote Originally Posted by elcabong View Post
    Why doesn't he go on 60 Minutes or CNN to soapbox rather than making the poor schmucks who paid to see him play have listen to his rants? Obviously they aren't the ones putting missles in Poland and putting their "...hands on his country."
    Indeed, I was going to say the same thing. Punishing the audience doesn't seem very classy at all.

    Might it be easier and safer to have some company internationally ship the instrument? Then again, it might be the opposite...

    Or maybe he could just get used to playing on different pianos?
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  9. #9

    Re: Traveling Through Customs with a Steinway

    I like Krystian Zimmerman. I heard a very lengthy interview with him on Radio 3 a few weeks ago. At one point he was talking about his teaching, and a particular student who, after several months of lessons, had asked, "When are we going to get around to working on technique?" Krystian said he answered him, "What do you mean, technique? There are the notes. You put your fingers on the right ones at the right time!"
    I thought that was refreshingly 'unpretentious.'
    David

  10. #10

    Re: Traveling Through Customs with a Steinway

    What was he teaching him for the first several months of lessons?
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

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