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OPEN LETTER from Myrna Herzog regarding the damage of the Lewis Viola on Alitalia flights.

Myrna Herzog with his twin violas da gamba

From the Atelier we have to say we are in shock with this situation, we're horrified, the level of destruction is insane; the instrument, the case, is just unbelievable! and any of us can be the next victim. We talk with Myrna Herzog about this and we hope all this situation will be resolved soon.

In the next open letter from Myrna Herzog you can find answers to many of the doubts and questions that some people had about what happened.


AN OPEN LETTER regarding the damage of the Lewis viol on

Alitalia flights AZ673 and AZ806

Before answering the many questions voiced over facebook, I wish to heartily thank all the amazing, outstanding people from different parts of the world who generously offered support and help, with concern and empathy. I would like also to stress that no unfortunate event will ever change my great love and admiration for Italy, its people, culture, and music.

First question:

Can the Lewis viol be repaired?

Yes, it can, and with luck it will be singing again in next season’s concerts, marking 20 years of the Israeli PHOENIX ensemble.

Second question:

Is the Lewis really a viol (viola da gamba)?

Yes, it is. Since 1994 I have been writing articles on the subject of viols with violin/cello features (like the Lewis), that were published in the Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Quinton entry), Early Music (cover article of the Feb 2000 issue), the Journals of the British and the American Viola da Gamba Societies, and of the Galpin Society, and in the book The Italian Viola da gamba. I also wrote a doctorate thesis on the subject which aims to enable the location and restoration of instruments like the Lewis, that have been transformed into celli due to their cello-like features: see

Third question:

Are there 2 Lewis viols?

Yes. The viola which was broken is one of 2 twin viols made by Edward Lewis, which my husband Eliahu Feldman and I have located, identified, bought and restored over the time span of 15 years. According to the dendrochronology made by John Topham, the two viols were cut from the same tree around 1661/2, as was another extant Lewis viol (in the usual viol shape). See…/The_Division_Viol_an_overview