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Renowned violinist plays concert for cabbie -

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Renowned violinist plays concert for cabbie

The World Today - Wednesday, 7 May , 2008 12:40:00

Reporter: Lindy Kerin

ELEANOR HALL: A rare event has taken place at an airport in New York. An internationally renowned
violinist has performed a free lunchtime concert.

Philippe Quint's recital was to thank a taxi driver for an equally unusual event - the return of a
worth $4-million violin. The New York cabbie says he was overwhelmed by today's performance and was
simply doing his civic duty, as Lindy Kerin reports.

(Sound of violin music)

LINDY KERIN: Two weeks ago, after a late night flight into Newark Airport, Grammy award-nominated
violinist Phillipe Quint caught a taxi to his home in downtown New York

He took his bags out of the back seat, but as the cab drove away, he realised he'd left the most
valuable piece of his luggage behind - an irreplaceable Antonio Stradivari violin worth an
estimated $4-million.

PHILIPPE QUINT: I certainly wasn't planning on leaving it in the cab. And basically what happened
was I was retrieving my bags from the trunk and I put them off the road. And when I turned back I
already saw the cab very much in the distance. So that's pretty much what happened, I just didn't
get to it in time. I knew that the violin was still in the car right away.

LINDY KERIN: After reporting it to the police and the taxi commission and reviewing photos of taxi
drivers, Phillipe Quint went back to the cab rank hoping the driver would reappear. Then came a
call from the Port Authority.

He was told the driver Mohammed Khalil had returned with the precious instrument. The two soon met
up and the violin that's more than 280-years old was given back to its owner.

It was only six or seven hours from when he lost the violin to when he got it back, but Phillipe
Quint says it felt like six years.

At the time, he gave the Mr Khalil $100, but promised to thank him in another way.

(Sound of violin music)

PHILIPPE QUINT: When I was at the taxi stack and at the airport I wasn't actually prepared to give
Mohammed any way of thanks or gratitude, so I just basically pulled out everything I had in my
wallet and just gave it to him. I don't even know how much it was. Afterwards, of course when I
brought the violin home, you know, I started thinking what would be the best ways or one of the
ways to reward him for what he has done? And I thought, you know, the best way is to give a part of
me, which is my music.

(Sound of violin music)

LINDY KERIN: So today, as a way of saying thankyou he gave a performance at Newark Liberty's
International Airport. It was an intimate concert.

Philippe Quint played for 30 minutes and treated the lunchtime crowd of 200 drivers to a range of
musical styles.

PHILIPPE QUINT: This movie was actually about a violin that travelled around the world by itself.
All in a way like for seven hours and I am sure that you will enjoy this one, thank you.

(Applause)

LINDY KERIN: Mohammed Khalil has been driving cabs for more than 20 years. He was overwhelmed to be
honoured in such a way. He told reporters how the violinist fell to his knees and wept when he was
given back the valuable instrument

MOHAMMED KHALIL: He told me, "You know Mohammed, I was thinking about if I didn't find it I have to
commit suicide because this is ... nobody would believe that I lost it. They're going to believe that
I stole it." Because he knows that it is very valuable, he knows that it means a lot, lots of
money.

LINDY KERIN: The Mayor of Newark has also awarded Mr Khalil for his honesty with a special city
medallion.

As well as the airport performance, Mr Khalil and his family have been given tickets to Mr Quint's
next New York performance in September.

(Sound of violin music)

(Applause)

ELEANOR HALL: Appreciation there for that special performance by violinist Phillipe Quint at New
York Airport. Lindy Kerin reporting.