ON AIR: The New Classical FM

Q+A: Travelling with instruments: five musicians speak out, 2/5

Station Blog2017-10-17By: Classical Staff

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I’m writing about five musicians about the trials and tribulations of travelling with an instrument – or none, in the case of a pianist who doesn’t always get a great instrument upon arrival – and how complicated it can be. This is the second in a five-part series this week.


Instrument(s): Cello

Main gig: Professor of Strings, Cello, at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University and Earl Grey tea drinker

Website: www.oxingale.com

What frustrates you most about travelling with an instrument?

Travelling with two cellos, neither of which has a passport. (*Editor’s note: cellists are sometimes told they can’t book a seat for their cello because it doesn’t have a passport.)

Have you ever cancelled a concert because the travel was too risky for your instrument?

No, but I’ve been pulled off a flight because the airline did not have a net to secure it. I won’t mention any names, only that Air Canada is the only airline to secure the cello with a net.

Yo-Yo Ma once infamously left his cello in the back of a New York City cab. (He got it back.) Have you ever misplaced the sheet music, crucial paraphernalia, or, god forbid, your actual instrument?

I misplaced sheet music for years, but now all of my scores are stored in my iPad, so there is only one device to keep track of.

How many instruments have you ever stuffed into a car or van?

Maximum number of cellos we stuff into a mini-van is five. When we travel with Uccello, (my cello ensemble from the Schulich School of Music, McGill University) we generally travel in two mini-vans, four cellos in each.

Tomorrow: Violinist Lara St. John.


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