International touring with orchestra instruments containing ivory

Posted on: October 24, 2014

In Thursday’s (10/23) Chicago Tribune, Mark Caro writes that for its European tour currently underway, “The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (and other traveling musicians) now must document each and every piece of restricted flora and fauna present in their instruments and accessories, some of which are more than a century old.” A February 25 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service order to protect African elephants from ivory poaching “doesn’t allow instruments that contain ivory or other banned substances to be transported back into the U.S. unless the forbidden materials were present before Feb. 26, 1976, and the instrument hasn’t been bought since the order was issued…. CSO director of operations Heidi Lukas … credited the League of American Orchestras with helping the CSO navigate the tricky waters to get its traveling exhibition certificate [listing everything in the cargo], valid until 2017…. Assistant concertmaster Yuan-Qing Yu said she collected all of the necessary documents for her violin and bow and also ‘packed my bow in one of my colleagues’ shipped-instruments trunk, because … we were told that we risk having our bows confiscated if we hand-carried.’ … So far, everything on this tour has passed inspection, knock wood, Lukas said.” To read Symphony magazine’s article about policies designed to thwart illegal trade in elephant ivory, and their effect on musicians, click here.

Posted October 24, 2014