Manchester music school Chetham’s furious as there is no sign of seven brass instruments lost by Lufthansa

The prestigious Manchester institution says some of the students whose instruments went missing on a flight home from Italy to Manche are trying to prepare for vital auditions to continue their top-level studies.

A top Manchester music school has once again hit out at an airline which has lost and failed to find seven musical instruments.

Six trombones and a tuba vanished when students at Chetham’s School of Music flew home from Italy after giving a concert there at the beginning of July.

The prestigious institution has now blasted Lufthansa which has completely failed to turn up any sign of the instruments more than 20 days after the incident occurred.

The music school, which is commonly known as Chet’s, says some of its students are now trying to prepare for vital auditions to continue their studies without the most important item a musician has.

What has happened to the musical instruments?

Students from Chet’s flew home to Manchester after performing a concert on the Italian island of Ischia with Lufthansa in early July but seven brass instruments - six trombones and a tuba - as well as suitcase did not make it on to the plane with them.

Although the suitcase was quickly found to have been incorrectly sent to Frankfurt and successfully rerouted back to Manchester, there is no sign of the brass instruments at all.

Tom Redmond, the joint principal at the music school, now says that more than 20 days later Lufthansa has told Chet’s it does not even know where the instruments are, but has simply said that their location is unknown.

Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra playing at the Bridgewater Hall in 2019. Photo: Sara Porter

And as the items were last seen more than 21 days ago Chetham’s has been forced to fill out more forms as the instruments have now be re-classified as lost.

The timing of the losses could hardly have been worse as the instruments vanished just days before the end-of-year Chet’s concert at The Bridgewater Hall, with the school having to scramble around to find replacements for the musicians.

And now some of the students are trying to practice ahead of vital auditions to get into conservatoires in the autumn with no idea when they will see their own instrument again.

What does Chetham’s School of Music say about the incident?

Mr Redmond said both the disappearance of the instruments in the first place and the airline’s subequent response are inadequate and unacceptable and spoke about the massive impact the loss is having on the students affected.

He said: “The instruments haven’t turned up and we are none the wiser as to where they are. Lufthansa can’t even tell us their location, let alone when we will be reunited with them.

“It’s not even a case of them currently being somewhere else, they have just said they are missing. It’s not good enough at all.

“It’s just so infuriating and ridiculous. How can you lose six trombones and a tuba?

“The students had to play the end-of-year concert on borrowed instruments but we have four impacted as they are doing music college auditions in the autumn, at the end of October and the beginning of November.

“That’s their journey into higher education, and this period in the run-up in terms of practice and preparation is absolutely vital. To not have your instrujment, which is almost like an extension of you, it’s difficult to describe what that is like.

“You do have a relationship with your instrument and playing on a strange one is odd, while knowing that you might or might not get yours back is very unsettling.”

Mr Redmond says airlines losing instruments in transit is a major problem for musicians as a whole and goes far beyond this one incident involving Chet’s students.

He said: “If you’re a professional musician and your instrument is lost for 25 days, how are you supposed to make a living?

“It has a ridiculously negative impact on our students and our industry as a whole. It’s really damaging. How do you travel or make allowances for the fact airlines might just lose the instrument?

“It’s really worrying that instruments worth tens of thousands of pounds are just waylaid or misplaced.”

What has Lufthansa said?

A spokesperson for Lufthansa said: “We are very sorry that due to airport staff shortages at our hubs many baggage items could not be delivered as planned.

“Currently these delayed bags will be delivered to their owners as quickly as possible. However each suitcase needs to be handled separately.

“We assume that the music school has filed a baggage claim. This paper contains a link that shows the latest status on the whereabouts.”