Another concert disturbance at the  London Philharmonic

Another concert disturbance at the London Philharmonic


norman lebrecht

December 02, 2011

This time, they waited until the piece was over before shouting ‘rubbish!’ (The Times) and ‘What a load of rubbish. Jesus!’ in the Guardian’s hearing.

The piece was Towards Osiris by Matthias Pintscher, one of a series commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic to augment Holst’s The Planets. It is beautifully crafted and has a showpiece trumpet solo. One man in the audience didn’t like it.

What happened next is more disturbing. Hilary Finch writes in The Times: A man with a walkie-talkie and two big bouncers were immediately summoned to the offender’s seat. Now quite why this audience member’s response should be considered more disruptive than the braying bravos that frequently deafen the end of an only mediocre performance is beyond understanding.’

Clearly, the LPO is on the alert for disrupters after being involved in two major incidents this year. But it is perfectly legitimate to shout an opinion after the  music has finished. To suppress that would be a violation of the right to free speech.


  • Shameful and stupid… Will classical concerts be the next victim of political correctness ?

    Time to send the LPO management (and the “big bouncers”, for that matter) a recording of the premiere of Varese’s “Déserts” or Chereau-Boulez’ rendering of Wagner’s Tetralogy… They’ll hear/see what is a real “concert disturbance” !

  • Tor.Fromyhr says:

    This action by LPO administration makes a complete mockery of any positive accolades the orchestra may receive or have received. The patron acted impeccably in waiting until the end of the performance. Why is our industry managed by so many idiots?

    • Dan P. says:

      Regardless of the qualities of Mr. Pintscher’s work, that the music meant enough, one way or the other, to someone so that they reacted from the heart is a healthy sign. Although it may not be productive to go as far as a 50’s Scherchen-led Berlin performance of Schoenberg’s Moses and Aron during which both the audience AND the singers got into an extended shouting match, you know that an audience doesn’t really understand or care when it politely and mindlessly applauds everything to the same extent.

      Recently, after a gala opening performance of New York’s signature orchestra in which a very famous singer prettily (and, I think, mindlessly) sang the final scene of Salome in what could only be described as a festively pink party dress, I wanted to boo as well but I was attending as someone’s guest, and that would have been obnoxious.

      Dan P.

      Dan P.

  • Alexander Radziewski says:

    maybe commissioned by management because only the performance without special show elements seems to be not entertaining enough. Could bring some more people from the sports arenas to the concert-hall.
    What’s about cheerleader girls for announcing the pieces? 🙂

    • Dan P. says:

      There was so much going on! There was the local kid conducting and bouncing around as if he were barefoot on hot coals, there were the super-titles continually flashing on and off, and then the pink party dress singing lady. The cheerleaders would have certainly made it perfect..

      Dan P.

  • Alexander Radziewski says:

    Nothing new under the sun:

  • Tommy says:

    Before this all gets silly, would anyone like to present evidence that proves it was the ‘LPO management’ that ordered the bouncers? Is there any chance it could have been the Royal Festival Hall’s decision? It’s usually venues that have security, not orchestras.

  • Michael says:

    It could also be that while plans were being made to prevent another concert disruption from taking place, this scenario was never specifically discussed or planned for since it’s relatively unlikely. I’m speculating here, but I could easily see how security could have overreacted in the absence of a clear plan, especially if they were under huge pressure from management (and I imagine they are) to stop audience members from interrupting concerts.