Posted by: nuweiba | May 7, 2008

Virtuoso to give concert to thank Egyptian driver who returned $4 million violin

By Jeffrey Gold
First Published: May 6, 2008

NEWARK, New Jersey: A violin virtuoso plans to replace the airport cacophony of taxis and airplanes with the exquisite tones of a 285-year-old violin to give thanks to the Egyptian-born cab driver who reunited him with his lost instrument.

Grammy-nominated violinist Philippe Quint said Monday he will play a private 30-minute performance on Tuesday at Newark Liberty International Airport’s cab waiting area.

Mohamed Khalil and his family will also have tickets to Quint’s next New York performance, Sept. 23 at Carnegie Hall.

The irreplaceable 1723 Antonio Stradivari “Ex-Kiesewetter” violin was left in Khalil’s cab the morning of April 21, when Quint was returning from a performance in Dallas. Quint found himself in the same predicament as other musicians, including cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who had left their instruments in cabs.

Adding to his distress, the violin valued at $4 million was on loan from philanthropists Clement and Karen Arrison, of Buffalo, New York.

After calling police and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Quint was soon in the offices of the Newark Taxi Commission viewing photographs of taxis.

Khalil had parked his cab for the night, not knowing that people were trying desperately to find it. After he got word the next morning, Khalil arranged to meet Quint again. Once reunited with the violin, the musician gave the driver $100.

Khalil, 57, emigrated from Egypt in 1980 and became a US citizen. He has been driving cabs for 24 years and is married with three sons. Quint, 34, is also an immigrant, having left Russia in 1991 to become a US citizen.


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