Gifted viola player is silenced by rude passerby

Gifted viola player is silenced by rude passerby


norman lebrecht

July 16, 2014

Kim Becker, 17, is a viola player in the National Youth Orchestra, which plays next month at the BBC Proms. She is a student at Cardinal Newman College and studies music at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music every Saturday.


kim becker


For the past two years she has been busking in her home town, Chorley, to raise funds for a new viola. But now she has been forced to stop. A few days ago, Kim was playing her viola outside Booth’s food shop when she was intimidated by a man who told her, ‘You’re not good enough for round here, you should play popular stuff people know.’

Kim told ‘I’m trying to raise funds for a new viola and busking is a really good way, but I now don’t feel I can busk in Chorley. This man was very rude and unpleasant and made me stop’.

Kim’s mum, Kath, said: ‘This has happened once before, when someone was really nasty to Kim. She’s a brilliant player and I can’t believe people could abuse a talented teenager who’s simply trying to earn some money and brightening up the town centre for shoppers.’

Kim adds: ‘I’d be really grateful next time I’m busking to hear from people who would like to support me. I am hoping for a career in music but it is an expensive path to go down so busking is a great way for me to make contacts and earn some money. Not only that but it lets me share my passion for music with everyone! I appreciate positive feedback and enjoy talking to shoppers and passersby but this man was incredibly unkind’.

If anyone knows who this rude man might be, do urge him to apologise.


  • Gary Carpenter says:

    This kind of shitty person represents the worst of what Britain hsd become. Probably a ukip supporter.

    • Anon says:

      I don’t think it is either possible, or desirable, to make assertions as to someone’s political allegiance from so brief a story.
      Nor do I think it even slightly likely that nearly 30% of voters think as this person did or behave like this (which, if you wish to tar UKIP supporters in this way you would have to believe; nearly 30% of voters voted for them in the most recent elections held in the UK, the largest vote share of any political party)

      • Prewartreasure says:

        Oh, do chill-out, Anon, please……

        If you have a problem recognising irony, best consult someone who can before expressing yourself on a public forum.

        • Dominy Clements says:

          It’s unfortunatley a fact of life for classical musicians that we have to grow a thick skin when appearing in public anywhere other than expected venues/concerts. The amount of times I’ve had rude comments from drunk party guests and the passive-aggressive playing of pop CDs during breaks can be counted on the amount of screws in my flute’s mechanism. Like strand-up comedians, you have to be able to take the odd heckle from time to time. My advice to buskers is to try and catch audiences departing from classical concert venues, use a cheaper reserve instrument (which can be used for self-defence in extremis), and, like the Penguins of Madagascar, ‘just smile and wave…’

        • Anne says:

          I don’t think irony was intended. UKIP supporters are tarred like this all the time.

        • Anon says:

          As far as I read it, or see on re-reading it, there is little irony in Gary’s comment.

      • Neil McGowan says:

        I think it’s entirely likely that this loudmouth piece of garbage was a UKIP support. They are famous for being mouth-off philistine scum.

        I hope Kim isn’t deterred by this gutless tosser.

    • Joshaw says:

      Doubt it. I grew up in that part of the world and by far the most aggressive philistinism was from Labour voters. They are unlikely to have become UKIP supporters.

      Contributing factor in my decision to move south.

  • anon says:

    If she’s the type of girl who will stop just because one jerk intimidated her and told her she’s not good enough, then she definitely should not consider a career in music.

    • bratschegirl says:

      The kind of emotional strength it takes to handle something like a bad review is not at all the same thing required in a situation like the one described, where I imagine she would have felt physically vulnerable, concerning her instrument as well as herself. It takes a special kind of disregard for normal social boundaries to be a jerk like that to someone’s face; no telling what else an arse like that would be willing to do. No wonder she’s reluctant to go back there. Seems like a perfectly rational response to an unsafe situation, having nothing whatsoever to do with whether she’s suited to a career in music.

  • WonderWoman says:

    I love the main characters in this story are called Kath and Kim…. #humoroustwist

  • Joshaw says:

    You also seem to have quite a way with words.