Adendum to the Colorado Classical Review of Boulder Chamber Orchestra Concert

... and further comment about young children at classical performances

I gave a glowing review of the performance of Flautist Cobus du Toit with the Rutter Suite Antique for Strings, Flute and Harpsichord with the Boulder Chamber Orchestra. But don't just take my word for it. Boulder Chamber Orchestra posted part of the performance on YouTube. Here it is:

The conductor makes a point in a comment to a previous post that there was a some noise by children which made the recording lest than perfect. Yes, at 4' and again at 4'38" there is some "noise" although the noise at 4'38" is a giggle, which hardly seems inappropriate to me given the flavor of the piece. At 5'20" there is coughing which was definitely not made by young children. Is this a disruption of the performance? or just something that happens in a live performance???

I am sorry that Maestro Saless feels the recording wasn't as good as it could be given the noise made by young children (under the age of 6) - particularly since that noise was created by my grandkids. I respectfully disagree (and I don't think this is bias on my part). I do not feel the noise in this recording detracts from the wonderful performance. It is a live performance after all.

At some point we the classical audience need to ask ourselves is a giggle more distracting than a cough, sneeze or some other common occurrence at concerts? If not, then are we to also exclude anyone with a cold?

This was a wonderful concert. The Boulder Chamber Orchestra is definitely an ensemble worth seeing. I wish they were more amenable to allowing children to express their joy at the performances, revel in that appreciation - rather consider a high quality video more important.

There are some comments on Colorado Classical that I thought I would post here to give this topic a wider audience.

Let's follow this to a conclusion. Okay, one family brings a noisy child who disturbs some of the audience. Next time, 4 noisy kids show up and disrupt a third of the attendees. No action on the part of the presenters -- let's be politically correct after all. So at the next concert we end up with 10 squeeking kiddies and with nobody happy. After that fewer people return -- who needs a concert if we've got reality TV.

I've got 3 young grandchildren, 5, 3 and 1. The older two are well behaved (normally) and can understand the need for silence. But they live in their own worlds, children's worlds. They react to the world around them as children, not adults. I want them to love and appreciate classical music. However, they are several years away from a real concert. Musical DVDs, CDs, "Children's concerts", radio - yes. Concerts - no -- not yet.

My Reply
I prefer to reply to each comment, but I agree perhaps this discussion needs to come to a close for this particular topic.

I disagree that your 5 and 3 year olds are too young for classical concerts. My two year old grandson saw the video (on this post) and jumped with excitement. "Concert with GeeMa." Obviously he was engaged and remembered the concert. The "noise" he was making was in response to the music, not ancillary chatter.

At rock and jazz concerts response to the music is rampant. More response is better, in fact it is encouraged. This natural response to all forms of music should be encouraged in classical concerts as well in my humble opinion.

You say that fewer people would attend these concerts, but speak about more people bringing more people. More people coming to the concerts isn't fewer people; the statements are contradictory. IF, what you mean, is the older "rich" patrons will stop coming -then yes, people like you who feel children should be raised on DVDs', CDs, Children's Concerts and Radio won't come to concerts where young children are encouraged to attend. However, IF we encourage more young people to actually appreciate and engage with the music, the audiences will grow rather than shrink as they are now doing.

YouTube, Tan Dun and Michael Tilton Thomas did a "YouTube" Orchestra. This was classical music for a younger age group, but the music was the same as you might hear in any concert hall today. Not only was the concert hall sold out, but the streaming video was the largest single classical concert viewed in history. The audience was loud and expressive and completely engaged with the music (as the videos still online prove). This is the type of engagement I am talking about - being OK with people expressing their enthusiasm for the music, getting their minds focused on really great music.

I don't know if any 2 or 3 year old kids were in the audience at Carnegie Hall for the YouTube Symphony, but if they were they had a great time and nobody told them to be quiet. They probably also not only enjoyed the music, but are excited to go back to the concert hall. I find it hard to believe that this is a undesirable result.

This is an important topic and one that obviously has multiple sides to it. I love to hear from my other readers how they feel about the atmosphere at Classical Concerts.


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