It’s not an unusual event for someone to be asked to leave a classical concert, having in mind how strict they are. But most of the times, people would just get ‘hushed’ to keep quiet or something like that. Not for David Glowacki, though.
He was awarded a Royal Society Research Fellowship in 2013 and is also a visiting scientist from Stanford University.
But the latest addition to his impressive list of credentials – classical concert hooligan – is what caught our attention.
Setting the scene: There is a conservatoire drama school in the UK – the Bristol Old Vic – lead by director Tim Morris, who wanted to shake the image of classical concerts being stiff and uptight. In order to apply to a wider audience, the Bristol Proms are trying to create a more casual atmosphere.
The vision of the director was simple – he wanted people to be able to stand up during concerts, get into the music, dance, sing along, or cheering without someone from the audience shushing them.
Glowacki tried to take advantage of this informality but found out that everything has its boundaries when the audience physically ejected him from the theater after he attempted to crowd surf.
What inspired him was the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel’s Messiah oratorio (video below).
In an interview for The Independent, Morris said that Glowacki “got very over-excited”.
He adde that “the Bristol Proms are contributing to a ground-breaking way of thinking which will pave the way for a new kind of classical concert. But by allowing an audience to respond in whatever way they want, you also allow an audience to self-regulate, as we discovered.”
According to the director, this is the first time in 300 years that someone gets kicked out of a classical concert by the audience. What Glowacki did should really have been spectacular. Morris supposes that David just irritated some people in the audience a bit too much with his extraordinary science methods.
On the other hand, in Glowacki’s opinion, he did not do anything wrong and was merely acting by the instructions of Tim Morris, though his description of the whole idea of revamping the classical concert etiquette to be a “fossilized art form undergoing a midlife crisis.”
In the same interview for The Independent, Glowacki explains “Witness what happened to me when I started cheering with a 30-strong chorus shouting ‘praise God’ two meters from my face: I get physically assaulted, knocked down to the floor and forcibly dragged out by two classical vigilantes.
Neither the bourgeoisie audience nor their curators (e.g. Tom Morris) really believe what they say. You’re free to behave as you like, and it’s comforting to think that you have that freedom, but it’s only available to you so long as you behave correctly.”
To no surprise, many people assumed that Glowacki was drunk at the concert, which made him act like that, but he assures he wasn’t the least bit “This may be a consequence of me being American, but I can quite easily be provocative without the need to be inebriated.”
Our view on the efforts of trying to make classical concerts more informal and fun? Try it with other material, like 2CELLOS for example.
The idea of rocking out to Vivaldi or Beethoven with a red cup in hand, as if you are at a frat party, sounds pretty ridiculous, but those other two boys are reaching it, only with a different set of pieces – rock, pop, even electro songs, played on cello is what people like jamming to.