After Thursday’s performance of Mahler’s 9th symphony by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor Ilan Volkov, the CBSO posted the following apology:
Symphony Hall and the CBSO regret any inconvenience arising from occasional disturbance from an audience member during the concert on Thursday April 25th.
Both Symphony Hall and the CBSO believe that concerts should be accessible to everyone. Our policies are designed to make everyone feel welcome, and we work hard to ensure that the particular needs of any individual are not a barrier to enjoying music at Symphony Hall.
During the concert on April 25th, Symphony Hall staff made frequent discreet interventions with an audience member and their companion to offer alternative seating locations and to discuss the nature and length of the second half of the performance. Alternative options were declined by the audience member’s companion, acknowledging the unpredictable and occasional nature of the disturbance from the individual in question. Symphony Hall staff will only ever forcibly remove someone from the hall as a last resort, and this felt inappropriate in this case.
Symphony Hall and the CBSO would once again like to apologise to any audience member that was disturbed, but also to thank the many audience members who expressed their support for our commitment to access on the evening.
So far, so reasonable. But many in the audience were not satisfied with the action that was taken. Several dozen have posted comments here. Some are highly intemperate.
If you were the duty manager, what else might you have done?
UPDATE: The Birmingham critic Christopher Morley fears the matter was mishandled. Read here.
UPDATE: You can listen to the broadcast here. The noise starts at around 2 hours 9 minutes and continues to the end.