Kyung Wha Chung: Keep kids in childrens’ concertsmain
The violinist has published a curious, PR-spun response to the furore aroused by her rebuke to a child who coughed in her concert. She admits to being astonished at the international outcry caused by her remarks and makes no apology.
After almost two minutes, as I was about to resume playing, my focus was stolen by a restless, coughing young child, directly in my line of vision. That this cough, and my surprised reaction, should go on to gather global headlines, is something of a revelation, and it has raised a number of interesting issues on conduct in a concert hall.
She goes on to demand a lower age limit for concert, saying that the very young should be confined to kiddies shows.
I have always welcomed children to my concerts, and indeed think it is a vital part of music education that they experience and discover the joys of live performance. However, I think it is also important that the very youngest children are taken to appropriate events, where they can feel comfortable to move, whisper and react animatedly. The concept of “children’s concerts”, which foster much more relaxed environments in which small children are actively encouraged to engage with music on a physical level, is the perfect example of this. It should never become an ordeal for the child to sit attentively – many adults struggle to manage this themselves!
So should adults be tested for fidgets before they are admitted to the concert hall?
Kyung Wha’s attempt at damage limitation leaves a bad taste.