Have you ever accidentally left your instrument in a restaurant, train, cab or anywhere else?
It may seem like such a careless blunder, but for musicians who are constantly carrying the instrument all over the place, especially when traveling, it can happen. Fortunately the owner usually figures it out and runs back to get it with no problem. But not always!
This week I was struck by a news story coming out of Bangkok, where a renowned violinist left his valuable violin in a taxi cab, which drove off with the fiddle, leaving the violinist to a desperate search. The story reminded me of Philippe Quint's saga back in 2008 - it was so similar!
The recent story unfolded last Tuesday, when violinist Xue Wei, age 60, left his 200-year-old violin in a taxi that had picked him up from a restaurant in Bangkok. Wei was a prizewinner in the Tchaikovsky and Carl Flesch International Violin Competitions in the 1980s, and he taught at the Royal Academy of Music.
The violin, he said, was valued at US$511,000 - though no source identified the violin's maker (I found one recording in which Wei was playing a 1629 Amati, but it may have been a different fiddle). When he realized he had left his violin, he immediately contacted police. He did have a receipt that identified the taxi driver - this was fortunate! The driver had realized that there was something in the trunk of the car, so he told his boss, but then went to sleep. After he awakened with a phone full of messages, the driver returned the violin. Wei, very happy to be reunited with his violin, played a little concert at the police station, in gratitude.
I'm certainly happy his violin was returned! And I'll say, he has famous company - other musicians whose instruments went missing on trains, planes and automobiles have included Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, Gidon Kramer and Glenn Dicterow - and there are many more.
But it leaves me to the question, have you ever left your violin somewhere, even for just a few minutes? A restaurant, coffee shop, Uber, a car.... I have done this a few times in restaurants - realizing as I walked to the car, ooops! What a horrible feeling that is, and what a relief to get it back.
Please participate in the vote, and then share your stories, or other stories that you know, about forgetting the instrument and then trying to get it back.
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