Violinist prevented from taking the Stradivarius 1709 on the bus | News

Swedish violinist Christian Svarfvar, trained at Stockholm Royal Academy and Juilliard School, has followed the usual habit of those lucky enough to have a Stradivari at their disposal: never lose sight of it. Despite a busy international career, with all the flights that this entails, “I never agreed to put it in a baggage hold,” he said. the rhinestone.

That all changed on July 6 when a rail replacement coach operated by the Swedish national railway company SJ refused to accept the violin on board, according to the violinist. The instrument, a violin from the Golden Age of 1709, is on loan from the Järnåker Foundation.

“I was on my way to a concert with pianist Peter Jablonski when the train I was supposed to take in Stockholm was canceled and replaced by a bus,” said the violinist. The bus driver insisted that all luggage be placed in the compartment below for safety reasons. “I started arguing, although I didn’t mention at first what it was and what it was worth, because I was hoping to avoid it – there were people around,” he said. he continued. “I just explained that it was a precious thing that I would rather have on the bus.”

Failed to get his message across, Svarfvar finally revealed the pedigree and likely worth of the instrument. The driver, despite recognizing the name Stradivari, did not move and asked the violinist if he valued him above human life.

Fearing to miss the concert, Svarfvar gave in and allowed the precious instrument to be placed in the luggage compartment. He was then shocked to find several empty seats on the bus, all with seat belts that could have secured the case. “Besides, I could have had it between my legs. I’ve done this several times before so I don’t understand why it hasn’t been possible, ”he said.

SJ’s press secretary issued a statement expressing regret for Svarfvar’s experience, but stressed that in such a case, the bus rules apply, even if the bus replaces a train, where the bus rules apply. transport of instruments are more generous. “The driver’s assessment applies,” the statement said. “If it is not sure to have the instrument on board the bus in the event of an accident, the option is there to put it in the luggage compartment, and no exceptions can be made.” The press office conceded, however, that SJ should provide clearer information on baggage rules and where they apply.

“I was obviously surprised with the way I was treated by the driver and the surrounding staff,” commented Svarfvar. “The lack of understanding and flexibility was really stark. The wider the coverage, the better it is for all traveling musicians. ‘

Photo: Christian Svarfvar with the Stradivari 1709 © Fredrick Francke

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