Just in: US concert is disrupted by Michael Brown protest

Just in: US concert is disrupted by Michael Brown protest


norman lebrecht

October 05, 2014

Saturday night’s concert of the St Louis Symphony Orchestra was targeted by protesters against the police killing of a young black man in Missouri.

Two audience members in the middle aisle on the main floor began singing an old civil rights tune,  “Which Side are You on?” They soon were joined, in harmony, by other protesters, who stood at seats in various locations on the main floor and in the balcony.

They were applauded by some members of the audience, and of the orchestra. The protest was peaceful and brief.

Full report here.

St Louis Symphony


  • Old Nick says:

    Thank you

  • Neil McGowan says:

    Had the orchestra, or anyone involved with its management, somehow expressed support for the police’s role in Brown’s death?

    It could be a worthwhile idea to express strong public opinions at events such as this concert – but I’m not sure the term ‘protest’ is appropriate?

    • Geo. says:

      No, the SLSO management never expressed any statement one way or the other on the Ferguson and Michael Brown situation. I suspect that one reason for the choice of Saturday night was that the performance was also being broadcast on the radio, as the Saturday night concerts generally are. No similar protest happened at the performance this Sunday afternoon.

  • Hank Drake says:

    Watch the video at the attached links. The number of empty seats is staggering.

  • Kenneth woods says:

    Thanks for covering this, Norman.

    It’s hard to overstate the impact the protest has had on the mainstream media in the USA. There’s also been quite a lot of discussion, some of it thoughtful, some not. I’d invite curious readers to read some thoughts here and particularly to read the comment thread, too, which includes commentary from several musicians who know St Louis well, including the orchestra’s principal horn player


  • Dave T says:

    Extremely rude and rather cowardly. Neither the SLSO nor its ticket buyers, at least to my knowledge, had anything to do with the terrible events in Ferguson, Missouri. This disruption was a cheap publicity stunt foisted on a predictably docile and well-mannered crowd.

    If these bullying erks really had any courage at all they would have tried this at, say, a Ted Nugent concert. Now THAT would have made a statement. The scumbag rocker has made his disdain for the protesters well known. The classical music crowd, OTOH, has done nothing to deserve this.