Kyung Wha Chung: The damagemain
The interval between the two movements was marked by extended and full-throated audience coughing, which noticeably irritated Chung. Just as Chung was about to resume playing a child coughed repeatedly in the slip stalls, prompting Chung to suggest that the parent bring the child back to a concert when older. Even if Chung was somewhat on edge at that moment, her interjection did nothing to calm the situation as shortly after this I witnessed a parent and two young children voluntarily exit the hall. Throughout the remainder of the concert Chung was to repeatedly fling glances towards where they had been sitting.
But the concert’s over. Is there a lasting aftermath, other than poor reviews?
Well, Kyung Wha’s well-planned, strongly supported and long-desired comeback has been painfully stopped in its tracks. It is impossible not to feel sympathy for her. She should not be demonised for unguarded remarks made at a moment of high tension. Let’s hope she bounces back.
However, there will be consequences:
– some young persons may never be seen again at a classical concert.
– some artists won’t change their attitude towards the paying public.
– the public image of classical music as forbidding, restrictive, elitist, user-unfriendly, uncomfortable, potentially embarrassing and generally up itself has been massively reinforced.