Volcanic ash casts cloud for musicians

Concerts in chaos as performers stranded across the world

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The eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull last week has caused widespread chaos for musicians across the world.

With concert halls and opera houses often dependent on touring musicians and international casts, the moratorium on flights, despite ending today, has left key performers stranded around the world.

Among the many stories of thwarted travel –  pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, singers Susan Gritton and Wynne Evans being just some of victims –  there were also some heartening tales of success.

87 year-old Polish conductor Stanislaw Skroaczewski yesterday managed – after two days of trying – to find someone to drive him from Poznan in Poland to Manchester for tomorrow’s Opus One concert with the Hallé. Currently en route from Dover, concert-goers can be confident that this particular show will go on.

Nikolai Demidenko was also a winner, able to step in at the last minute to play Rachmaninov’s Piano Concert No. 4 with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra after Leif Ove Andsnes found himself stranded in Norway.

Less successful, if no less resourceful, was violinist Daniel Hope. Due in Stuttgart this Monday, he found a private plane to take him from Istanbul to Zagreb, Croatia, and there hired a minibus to get as far as Vienna. Unfortunately there he contracted an infection and was unable to make it any further. His agent Liz Sam reports that Hope is ‘gutted’ not to make the concert.