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Where are instruments kept backstage?


Staccato
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I've often wondered where the Vengerovs and Perlmans of the world keep their violins when they aren't carrying them around. I once saw Gil Shaham (sans violin) mingling with the crowd before a concert and the first thought that came to my mind was, "Where in the world is his Strad?"

Do concert halls have lockers backstage where instruments can be safely stored? Or do robberies take place frequently? I have heard of a few instrument cases being pilfered while the performer was onstage.

[This message has been edited by Staccato (edited 04-09-2001).]

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I don't know how it works in the classical world, but at rock-and-roll concerts for well-known bands, the bands have roadies who are hired specifically to look after their instruments. This person travels with them from show to show, and their responsibility is to hold the instrument backstage while the performer is not using it, to check the instrument before and after performance, to tune the instrument, to do/assist with sound checks, and to ensure the instrument is secure. When I used to work in that world, most bands would have 1 person just for the guitars, and 1-2 other people for all other instruments.

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In Atlanta's Symphony Hall there are dressing rooms downstairs for the conductor, concertmaster, and guest artists (doors marked with stars). During performances, an artist's other bow(s) and violin(s) are in the dressing room, unattended save for security guards at the entrance to the downstairs area. To "avoid unpleasantness" like his disappearing bow, Milstein's solution was to lock the dressing room. I think Bronislaw Huberman lost a Strad that way, and it came up later when the strolling musician who acquired it from the thief passed away.

-Aman

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I like this topic and I like to observe people's behavior in this regard from the overly-protective to the careless ( I think I fall into a middle category).

I love to pick up instruments that look interesting if they're left unattended. But for the would-be thief, as you say, there is even a greater temptation with bows - easily slipped into another case.

I've been in dressing rooms where 'rich kids' leave expensive equipment lying about - a perfect invitation to a prospective 'collector'.

An uncle of mine had a great invention - a small case the size of a pocket radion that would emit a schreeching noise if anyone touched whatever it was attached to. Maybe that would be as good as a bodyguard.

Omo.

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I recently attended a concert with Nigel Kennedy. Afterwards I went backstage to his dressingroom and there was a huge security guard standing duty outside the door. When I went inside there were several people in there and his violin cases were sitting on the table. (Not that anyone could have gotten past the guard with them!) But I know that Kennedy is careful with his violin because he told me that when he plays in gigs in rougher places he NEVER takes his Guaneiri.

Last year when I went to the Masterclass with Maxim Vengerov, he came out into the foyer and mingled with the crowd, but someone else was holding tightly to his violin case.

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quote:

Originally posted by vieuxtemps:

I think Bronislaw Huberman lost a Strad that way, and it came up later when the strolling musician who acquired it from the thief passed away.-Aman

If I recall correctly (please correct me if I'm wrong) the strolling musician WAS the thief. He admitted it before he passed away, and there were newspaper clipping about the theft in his violin case.

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quote:

Originally posted by marian:

While Gil Shaham was signing CDs after his recital last night, he just put his Strad under the table where he was sitting. No bodyguards or roadies required. It was hidden by the tablecloth.

How was the concert, marian? What did they play?

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quote:

Originally posted by Phoebe.R:

Last year when I went to the Masterclass with Maxim Vengerov, he came out into the foyer and mingled with the crowd, but someone else was holding tightly to his violin case.

Hey, Give us a job....I could do that!!! laugh.gif

At £947,500 I bet he was holding on tightly. wink.gif

Jane

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