BALTIMORE - A musician left his $3 million violin on an Amtrak train, but a quick-acting baggage handler retrieved the instrument and it was returned to its grateful owner.
Gidon Kremer, who is performing as a guest artist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra through Saturday, took the train from New York to Baltimore's Penn station on Wednesday.
Before heading to Baltimore, Kremer learned that a violinist in the Kremerata Baltica, a chamber orchestra he founded in 1996, was sick and couldn't make an Asian tour scheduled to start in a few days. "I was preoccupied with that from the moment I sat down on the train to the moment I got up as we approached Baltimore," he told The (Baltimore) Sun.
Accustomed to traveling with only a garment bag and his violin, Kremer also had a large suitcase with him, because he will be heading off for that Asian tour from Baltimore.
Waiting at the station was Jeremy Rothman, the BSO's associate artistic administrator. "I saw he had only two bags with him," Rothman said, "so I asked, 'Is this everything?' And I could see his face suddenly change."
The train was winding toward Washington by then, with the unguarded cargo — a blue cloth case containing a Guarneri del Gesu violin, dated 1730, estimated value $3 million.
By the time the train pulled into Union Station, Amtrak officials were waiting. Baggage handler Mike Famiglietti secured the instrument, which was later picked up by Thomas Cirillo, a member of the Vilar Institute for Arts Management at the Kennedy Center, who offered to bring it to Baltimore's Meyerhoff Hall.
"I am incredibly grateful to all the people who helped me," Kremer said, cradling the returned violin.