News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Greater Akron Chamber

Lehmans

Wayside Furniture


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Arts and Entertainment




How the Cleveland Orchestra's instruments travel overseas: Very carefully
Stage Manager Joe Short's job is part builder, part weather forecaster, and all caution
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
The crew gets right to work immediately following the Linz concert. No time to waste with three concerts coming up on Wednesday through Friday at the famed Musikverein in Vienna, Austria.
Courtesy of Vivian Goodman
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

The Cleveland Orchestra’s tour of Europe is an enormous undertaking. In all, including the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus which is along for four of the concerts, about 260 musicians and their support staff will have traveled to eight cities in about 2 1/2 weeks.

Every hall has different acoustical challenges, not to mention the delicate work of transporting the instruments safely to each of their destinations.

That’s been the responsibility of Stage Manager Joe Short for the past 13 seasons. WKSU’s Vivian Goodman is following the orchestra on tour and had a chance in Cologne to talk with Short:

 

 

LISTEN: Joe Short's very big job

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (6:44)


Imagine moving 100 trunks full of delicate musical instruments to eight cities in 18 days. That's the responsibility of the Cleveland Orchestra stage hands, and they're always note-perfect, just like the musicians.

Joe Short says he’s always been a backstage guy. He began his career in stage lighting, then transitioned to corporate work, rock shows and even Broadway. His first tour with the Cleveland Orchestra was in 1998 to Japan, Hong Kong and China, and today he’s in his 13th season as the orchestra’s stage manager.

He says the most stressful part of his job is shipping the very valuable cargo – the musicians’ instruments.

“They certainly are very valuable and it’s interesting – not just valuable in the dollars sense category, but also very valuable in the sense that some musicians, they’ll spend half their career, five years perhaps at the minimum, searching for that perfect violin.

“So we have a very, very, very successful record of no damage; certainly not serious damage to any instruments. However, what adds to the stress is the personal relationship that each musician has with their instrument and how important that particular instrument is to their career.”

Keeping the temperature just so
Shipping them requires building pallets, loading and unloading cargo hulls in planes, and traveling with two 53-foot trucks.

“There’s about 130 trunks depending on how much percussion we’re bringing. One thing that we pay very close attention to … is the temperature. Especially this time of year when it starts getting cold, we really have to guard against any of the instruments being exposed to the cold weather and then – even more so -- they’re immediately brought into a warm building. So we’re very paranoid about that.”

The trucks are temperature controlled, maintaining a temperature of 68-72 degrees. “I actually have sensors that I had in a violin case, in a base case, that I can check and make sure that that’s being maintained.

“And then they’re put on part of the aircraft that is very much watched and temperature controlled -- usually the part of the aircraft that ships things such as live lobster. “

The instruments are kept under wrap and seal to keep out moisture on the tarmac. And some of the instruments carry their own, smaller, instruments.

But “it can often be tough on musicians in the double bass or cello section, trombone section, just because of the nature of our travel . … It can be several days until they see their instrument.”

(Click image for larger view.)

Listener Comments:

Dear Vivian,
Excellent job on the interview. What a special treat it must be to see them play in the Musikverein. I have been there but would love to see my beloved Cleveland Orchestra play there. Thanks.
-Bernie P.


Posted by: Bernie (Pepper Pike) on November 20, 2013 5:11AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook


Support for WKSU Coverage of the Cleveland Orchestra European Tour 2013 provided by:





Stories with Recent Comments

Cleveland deal ramps up civilian oversight of police
i would like to see police get mandatory psych evals one a year from out side the department.

The generation gap in care for developmentally disabled Ohioans
I don't understand how a few hours a day of caregiving can possibly help a person who lives with complex/multiple disabilities. Many waiver recipients totally d...

Marijuana referendum may change more than pot's legal status in Ohio
If our representatives would act in accordance with the will of the people things like this wouldn't happen. They dragged their feet and blocked discussion on t...

Area pastors and congregation members protest justice system
I live in Cleveland. trust me when I say the high incarceration rate is due to the high crime rate.

H1-B visa limits inhibit Cleveland startups and tech ventures
End the Indian h1-b visa scam now! Rishi Oza and other Indian operatives continue to lie both about the 'need' for these visas and the qualifications of Indians...

Ohio's attorney general rejectsthe latest proposal to legalize marijuana
i think the ag launguage is money hes talking about drug companies must pay him more than responsible ohio can

PBS documentary chronicles the fall of Saigon through new footage and stories
Hi, Does anyone know the number - in the pbs special "Last Days of Vietnam" documentary, of how many Vietnamese were evacuated? Please e-mail me the answer. T...

Protest planned at tomorrow's FirstEnergy meeting
The problems of the poor and downtrodden have nothing to do with First Energy. They are the result of Republican legislators who consistently reduce taxes on th...

Ohio bill would help smaller communities with LGBT discrimination laws
Do we not try and have rights for all individuals equally? On the HUD list of "preferred" candidates who get "special consideration" it states that: For purp...

Ohio likely will continue with two types of police academies
Wake up people your wanting a Harvard law school education for a job that may pay a little over the poverty level. I don't know anyone who could support a wife ...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University