Conductor Forced to Check Baton at Airport
New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal/Canadian Press - 23 April 2002
Saint John, New Brunswick (CP) Symphony New Brunswick music
director Nurhan Arman may have terrorized his share of musicians. But
the normally mellow maestro got a big surprise on the weekend when he
was told that his conductor's baton could be used as an instrument of
Arman was passing through a security check at the Saint John Airport
on Saturday when he was asked what was in the thin yellow tube that
he had tucked in his carry-on luggage, alongside his laptop computer
and music scores. After passing his bag through the X-ray machine, he
turned on his laptop for the female security guard. The woman then
spotted the tube.
"What's this?" she asked.
"That's a conductor's baton," Arman answered.
When the maestro was informed that the blunt-ended, flexible wooden
implement with the cork handle would not be allowed on board, he was
stunned. "I almost fainted."
Arman, who lives in Toronto and flies all over the world for musical
engagements, explained he was the conductor of the provincial
symphony. Although he didn't have his business cards with him, he
pulled out his music scores to prove his point.
"I tried to explain that you could not harm anyone with it. A simple
pencil would do more damage."
Although correct in his assessment, he was told to check his baton as
luggage or he would not be able to fly back to Toronto. "The only
people I can terrorize with a baton are the orchestra players." With
great reservations, he checked the $200 baton that he had bought in
Paris, along with his laptop.
Arman understands that security measures have to be taken in the wake
of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. But he said
the security is getting ridiculous. "There is such a hysteria," he
He said he has always travelled with his baton in his carry-on, since
his checked baggage often goes missing. But from now on, Arman will
put his baton in with his luggage.
Ok,I will admit that accidents have occasionally happened with
batons - flying out of hands into the orchestra (that actually
happened to Antonio Pappano recently in a performance of a
Shostakovitch symphony!) or the coiffures of ladies in the audience.
Or conductors accidently stabbing themselves in the eye or scarring
themselves in the forehead. But this is RIDICULOUS!
And I bet this would probably NOT have happened to Tony or Charles
Dutoit or someone who did not have an Iranian (?) name. On the other
hand, this might say more about the appalling ignorance of most
Americans (and presumably Canadians) regarding classical music.