Ivory regulations still proving troublesome for traveling orchestra musicians

Posted on: June 4, 2014

“The Budapest Festival Orchestra says that U.S. Customs officials at Newark Liberty Airport seized seven bows from the orchestra’s string section on Saturday, the result of new federal regulations banning the commercial import of elephant ivory,” writes Brian Wise on Tuesday (6/3) at WQXR’s blog. “The Hungarian orchestra was traveling … en route to Avery Fisher Hall, where it gave an all-Dvorak concert on Sunday. [The bows] have since been held in cargo cases at JFK Airport, and are expected to be returned.… The seizure comes after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on May 15 that it was relaxing rules enacted earlier this year that would have prohibited most traveling musicians from entering the U.S. with instruments that contain small amounts of African elephant ivory. But the League of American Orchestras, which has been lobbying for more flexible rules, has said that ‘serious concerns’ remain including the establishment of a reliable system for obtaining permits known as CITES musical instrument certificates…. The Budapest Festival Orchestra’s troubles come days after [reports] that the Munich Philharmonic nearly cancelled three appearances at Carnegie Hall in April after the none of the orchestra string players could produce a CITES certificate for their bows…. Nearly all bow-makers stopped using elephant ivory around 1980 but historical authentication remains a sticking point.”

Posted June 4, 2014