A Dudamel concert is disturbed at Walt Disney Hall

A Dudamel concert is disturbed at Walt Disney Hall


norman lebrecht

March 09, 2014

A Slipped Disc reader tells us:

A friend attending Friday night’s Los Angeles Philharmonic texted me to report that he “went to the fights and a symphony broke out.”  Apparently a backstage altercation during the Corligiano Symphony No. 1 became so loud that Gustavo Dudamel stopped the orchestra for several minutes until order was restored, then he started over.


We’ve received this clarification from a member of LAPO administration:
An intoxicated patron arrived after the start of the concert and was unhappy with the seating hold. He pushed past (and tried to strike) our ushers, past the sound hold through to the corridor behind the organ, just outside one of the audience entry doors to the orchestra view seating area. Our ushers blocked the door and he became very vocal, shouting and swearing at them. At this point you could hear raised voices inside the hall. It became increasingly distracting and at one point, the man tried to open the door. Gustavo stopped the concert and then left the stage. The ushers managed to move the patron away from the auditorium to the main foyer and he then left the premises. This all took place about eight minutes into the Corigliano that we were performing. It was over very quickly and Gustavo restarted the concert almost immediately.
These things happen in the best organised concert halls.


  • Audience participation the like of which not seen since Le Sacre du Printemps première 29 May 1913.

  • At least no phones went off.

  • sdReader says:

    Americans always challenge authority.

    • Legin Buddha says:

      This is why we left Europe in the first place. As an American, it has been at least uncomfortable for me to watch Downton Abbey with my wife, with its portrayal of the strict social order which extended even into the lives of the servants with regard to one another’s job description. The classical music culture (symphony and opera) sees music as a whole as an hierarchical ordering of its various genres, with classical somewhat smugly ‘enthroned’ at the top. I have little doubt that many rock, jazz, country, and rap fans, etc. see their own genres as indignant objections to classical’s self-claimed cultural and artistic superiority.

      • abramovic says:

        Well classical has been around a while, that helps.

        I’m amused that rap fans are objecting indignantly to classical. Now I know what motivates them. Strange, though, that, as far as I’m aware, it doesn’t appear in their lyrics.

        I wonder how rap fans view country?

      • cabbagejuice says:

        @Legin Speak for yourself. My Italian immigrant ancestors knew how to behave at opera concerts.

      • Anonymus says:

        Didn’t “you” leave Europe mostly, because

        a) you were a religious fundamentalist, hunted by the authorities

        b) a desperado who couldn’t make it or was starving back home and turned to new shores?

        Classical and sophisticated forms of Jazz are the most sophisticated kinds of music very objectively, polyphony, harmonic structure, orchestration techniques etc. They are superior as an art form.

        • m2n2k says:

          If you are suggesting equality of ALL classical with only the most sophisticated forms of jazz, then that by itself makes classical more sophisticated as a whole. However, I am not sure that more sophisticated always means superior necessarily. Sometimes simplicity is sublime.

    • Stuart Rogers says:

      How do you know the patron in question was an American?

    • Ian says:

      Tell that to the White House Press Corps.

  • Terry says:

    It was that kind of Friday night at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, too (but in a good way, I’d say):

    “Just before the concert started, with no one onstage, someone in the audience shouted, “Bring back Osmo,” referring to departed music director Osmo Vänskä, who may or may not return to that position. Others in the hall took up the cry. Finally, a stern voice in the first tier shouted, “Oh, shut up!” The other voices stopped.

    “What’s the next step? People fighting in the aisles? Surely one could say: better a fight in the aisles over the music director than over who’s your favorite Kardashian sister.”


  • I remember conducting in the Pantages Theater in Hollywood where almost the entire audience would nightly rubberneck every late arrival in the hope of spotting a star. The arrival of Rene Russo, Tom Hanks et al would invariably provoke a more than generous ripple of applause. One evening, however, a lady, clearly ‘tired and emotional’ as our favourite organ often describes their state, took advantage of that sensual, electric lull between lights down and the music starting to announce to the world in general that ‘(She’d) put up with all your crap for twenty years and, goddammit, I’m not standing for it a minute longer! I’m leaving you, you asshole’. She then stormed out, slamming her door as loudly as possible. Quite an exit. No applause, just a very bemused audience who hadn’t anticipated that when they bought their tickets, I’m sure. Nice to see that things are no different in the Disney.

    • Anne says:

      No, they were just “challenging authority”.

      There were also quite a few challenges to authority in the Met audience, last time I was there. Stupid me thought it was just bad manners.

  • ed says:

    At least it wasn’t another political attack directed at the Dude for what he didn’t do.

  • Andrew says:

    I surprised anything could be heard over Corigliano Sym No. 1.

  • stanley cohen says:

    Amazing! Close on 5,000 go to the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall for the best part of every day for two months every summer in London and the best audience participation – other than the Last Night – is the unison groan from the Prommers while the lid of the grand piano is raised. Perhaps England can still teach the world in general and those pesky Yanks in particular how one ought to behave in a concert hall. Putting a stop to applauding because you’re clever enough to recognise what’s being played might be a great place to start.

  • M.A. Steinberger says:

    I am so grateful to be enlightened, as a crude American, on proper manners, both in and out of concert halls. It is lovely to know that there is no rudeness or hooliganism, drunken or otherwise, anywhere else on the world, especially England.

    • Alison says:

      “out of concert halls” ?

      All countries have their rough side. As far as I can see, the comments here are quite specific.

    • stanley cohen says:

      Not forgetting all of those accidental deaths by shooting in the Land of the Free, eh, M, Steinberger?

      People who live in glass houses oughtn’t to throw stones.

      • M.A. Steinberger says:

        1) I live in a glass house. I know all about stones, birds, etc.

        2) I believe you were the stone-thrower here.

        3) Are shootings, accidental or deliberate, confined to the U.S.?

        4) I didn’t insult your country. Stop insulting mine.

  • Jamesay says:

    I’ve always thought EVERY concert with Dudamel was disturbed … Or should that read disturbing!?

  • Gaffer says:

    Many years ago when I was in college at Boston College, I was an usher at Symphony Hall in Boston for four years. Among the many memories I have of that splendid experience, not one is of any bad behavior on the part of the audience, thank God.

    If anything should have happened along those lines, we young, not professional ushers had no training on how to react to a disruption during a concert. Maybe things have changed now and some instruction is given to ushers these days.

    • M.A. Steinberger says:

      Yes, the world is overall a ruder place, even in places where people used to be polite routinely.

  • Anon says:

    Corigliano #1 conducted by Dudamel… are you sure the irate patron wasn’t trying to get out, rather than in? That would make a lot more sense…