The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: What should you do when a fistfight breaks out during a Brahms symphony? Ask conductor Riccardo Muti of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. | March 16, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

Well, who says a classical music concert has to be a staid and even boring affair?

You never know. Granted, it is decidedly NOT Altamont and the Rolling Stones and Hell’s Angels. But the incident could perhaps be compared to an impromptu and misplaced boxing match.

Just read what happened when a fistfight suddenly broke out during a performance of a Brahms symphony being conducted in the venerable Orchestra Hall by conductor Riccardo Muti (below, in a photo by AFT/Getty Images) of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra:

Those Chicago audiences can be rough and tough.

And after the brouhaha was all over, Muti had even more to say, some of his comments quite amusing and droll:


What would Johannes say?

What do you say?

Have you even witnessed or heard of as similar incident?

The Ear wants to hear.


  1. I hadn’t heard the ages and I defer to my elder.

    I thought when I heard the story that it was probably a couple of overprivileged young stock traders.

    Comment by Ron McCrea — March 17, 2012 @ 11:22 am

    • Hi Ron,
      That is a perfectly feasible explanation too.
      The mystery of motivation continues.
      As it so often does.

      Comment by welltemperedear — March 17, 2012 @ 11:34 am

      • Hello to Ron, too! We’re still reporting the story. Hope to have more details this week! Meanwhile, we just keep slugging along. Har har.


        Comment by Andrew Patner — March 17, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

  2. Funny, I was, just last evening, thinking of BOTH of you! ESP, a wonderful thing! 😉 All best wishes from Chicago, Andrew

    Comment by Andrew Patner — March 17, 2012 @ 9:38 am

    • Hi Andrew,
      Well, thanks for the memories.
      Or stories.
      Or thoughts.
      All the best back to you from Madison.

      Comment by welltemperedear — March 17, 2012 @ 9:46 am

  3. Sounds like a sugar-daddy/kept-boy spat…

    Comment by Jess Anderson — March 16, 2012 @ 11:27 pm

    • Hi Jess,
      I hadn’t thought of that.
      But it makes sense.
      AND a juicy story.

      Comment by welltemperedear — March 17, 2012 @ 9:19 am

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