We hope you are all having a wonderful Labor Day weekend. The weather here in Pittsburgh has finally cooled down a bit so we can finally enjoy being outside for all the bbqs. Below is our viola news of the week.

11 Airlines are Viola-Approved

The International Federation of Musicians (IFM) released a report this week of the most instrument-friendly airlines. Allowing violas onboard airplanes has been an ongoing debate for the last 10 years so it’s great that airlines are finally opening up their policies to allow violas on-board, no questions asked. We still recommend buying a hard case for your viola anyway.

Only 11 of the airlines reviewed received a “Green” rating suggesting that they are willing to accept any instruments that fit in the overhead compartments or under the seat. Those airlines given the highest ‘green’ rating by the IFM are: Air Canada (funnily enough given their prior attitude), Air Dolomiti, Air Mauritius, American Airlines, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Delta Airlines, El Al, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines.

Another 29 airlines were given an ‘amber’ rating – suggesting that they do not currently comply with all US FAA regulations but that their size limitations for instruments are more favorable than those enforced on regular cabin luggage.

The ‘amber’ rated airlines, include: Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Easyjet, Japan Airlines, KLM, Malaysia Airlines, Norwegian Airlines, Qantas, Thai Airways, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin Australia.

For a full list of airline ratings, visit IFM’s rating page.


Globe-Trotting Violist to Pittsburgh Barista

Nikolay Ivanov was raised on viola from the age of 6 and became a professional violist, playing all over the world including at venues in Germany and England. However, in 2008, the now 45-year old ex-professional violist and his wife opened Big Dog Coffee in South Side, Pittsburgh, PA. Nikolay is far happier in his new career, despite always looking happy while playing. He says, “People say, ‘Musicians always look happy.’ Well, they tell you to smile when you bow.”

You can read more about Nikolay’s journey here.


Interview with Kirsten Docter, Professor of Viola and Chamber Music at Oberlin

The Oberlin Review interviews incoming professor Kristen Docter about her career and what she is looking forward to about her new job at Oberlin. Our favorite answer was about why she chose violin, “My older brother played the violin at the new Suzuki program in the Twin Cities…and then my sister eventually started playing the cello, and so it was just one of those things.”

Read the full interview here.