U of GA professor forced to cancel recital in Little Rock
By Peter Alexander
Now is not a good time to be flying from Atlanta with your double bass.
On Saturday, just days after Colorado Symphony member Karl Fenner’s bass was smashed on a flight form Atlanta to Denver, University of Georgia faculty member Milton Masciadri was scheduled to play a recital in Little Rock, Ark. But when he arrived in Little Rock from Atlanta, he discovered that he had to cancel the recital.
As first reported on the Website Slipped Disc, his bass has been smashed and the neck broken, just like Fenner’s instrument, during the flight.
Masciadri’s bass sadly is a particularly rare one, made in 1690 by a member of the Testore family of Milan, Italy—esteemed as one of the most important early builders of double basses. Their instruments are among the most sought after, and most expensive, double basses in the world.
In his case, the airline appears not to have been at fault. Masciadri has reported that “after I checked the instrument it went to TSA [Transportation Security Administration] for inspection but when it arrived in Arkansas they had failed to put back on the security belts that the trunk has inside. The airline had no reason to open the trunk so its obvious that TSA was the one [responsible].”
In Fenner’s case, the bassist had himself opened and re-closed the case after his instrument had been cleared by TSA. This seems a reasonable procedure, so that a valuable and delicate musical instrument can be handled safely and replaced in the case securely. It is possible that Fenner’s case fell out of a cart and was run over sometime after it was checked through by the airline.
Masciadri reported that he has contacted the TSA, and they have sent him “a long report to be filed.” He added that the airline has been assisting him, and that the instrument is insured.
The University of Georgia professor had planned to use the bass in two prominent upcoming performances: at the Ushuaia International Music Festival in Argentina, and a solo appearance with the Korean Chamber Orchestra in Carnegie Hall on Oct. 27. The Carnegie Hall concert is part of the orchestra’s 50th anniversary world tour, and also part of UNESCO’s 70th anniversary celebration.
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Edited to add photo of Masciadri’s bass Sept. 22.
Edited for clarity Sept. 23.