♫ Episode #61 – Traditions and Etiquette in Classical Concerts – Applause, Encores, Curtain Calls, and the Bravo Guy

By Kirk on July 14, 2017

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  • I’ve never–never ever–heard a musician complain about applause between movements. I once performed Mozart’s “Kegelstatt” Trio which has a second movement that ends with a flourish; the audience applauded. Rather than making a disapproval face I said (in my best late-night TV commercial voice) “But wait–there’s more!”; the audience laughed and we played the Finale. I have, however, heard musicians (me included) bemoan the aging, and social narrowness, of the concert audience, and (as the panel members observe) the snooty hostility of audience members certainly contributes to keeping people away.
    I’d add that Bravo Guy has a younger, ostensibly hipper cousin I’ll call “Whoop Dude.” He goes to rock and jazz performances but also to the less formal kinds of “classical” events (Classical Revolution evenings at coffee shops and bars, for example) and he’s just as annoying s his more old-fashioned relative.

    • If we had had more time, we would have talked about the Whoop Dude, who rears his head after just about every solo in a jazz gig.

  • I’m a former board member and current volunteer for InConcert Sierra, a group in rural Northern California that has been presenting classical concerts since 1946. Over the past ten years our audience size has grown from an average of 50-75 to an average of 350-400. We encourage young people and families to come to concerts. Children 5-17 can attend concerts free with an adult. As we’ve grown we’ve been able to present some internationally-known artists like Joel Fan, Nikolai Lugansky, Emanuel Ax, The Vienna Boys Choir, Amit Peled, and Joshua Bell. I’m proud to say that I’ve never heard anyone get shushed for applauding between movements. And the Bravo Guy union apparently hasn’t discovered us. There were some bravos at the end of Joshua Bell’s concert but I’m pretty sure those were genuinely spontaneous.

    • We just had a concert with bravos again. It was Wu Han and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Once again, the bravos seemed spontaneous and were deeply deserved. What a concert!