U.S. ivory ban prompts Canadian musician to cancel audition
Published Tuesday, April 15, 2014 10:31AM EDT
A new U.S. ban on the trade of ivory has prompted a Canadian double bass student to cancel his audition with the Winnipeg Symphony out of concerns his bow might be confiscated at the border.
Taddes Korris, who uses a bow that contains a small strip of ivory, is one of many musicians concerned about the U.S. ban.
Korris, who originally hails from Edmonton, is studying the double bass in New York, and was supposed to audition with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra this week.
But despite putting in hours of work preparing his piece, Korris told CTV Winnipeg he cancelled his audition because he's worried his bow might be confiscated when he returns to the U.S.
"I was supposed to be in Winnipeg today taking the audition that I prepared two months for, and I could not risk travelling," he said.
In February, the White House unveiled a national strategy for combating wildlife trafficking. In addition to the strategy, the White House announced new rules essentially banning imports and exports of ivory, with a few narrow exceptions. There are also strict rules for the sale of ivory between U.S. states.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are a few exemptions to the ban for musical instruments containing ivory. However, some musicians say obtaining an exemption requires a lot of extra work.
Jean-Francois Phaneuf, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra's director of artistic operations, has been busy putting together a list of all the instruments in the orchestra that contain ivory ahead of a scheduled performance south of the border next month.
The group is supposed to perform at New York City's Carnegie Hall in May, but may not be able to make it if it doesn't get an exemption, he said.
Meanwhile, Korris laments the opportunity he lost by cancelling his audition.
"I lost the opportunity because I couldn't risk losing my tool – my bow. I couldn't risk losing it," he said.
He rejects the suggestion that he should have gone to the audition with a different bow, noting that it's unthinkable for professional musicians to switch up such a vital part of their instrument before an important performance.
Korris said it would be like "a Formula One driver training in a race car" and then being forced to drive a Honda Civic on the day of the race.
With a report from CTV Winnipeg's Rahim Ladhani