Classical concertgoers turn on crowd-surfer

20:51, Jun 22 2014
Bristol Old Vic
SCENE OF THE UPROAR: Bristol old Vic.

A raging classical music performance was so exciting for one scientist he attempted to crowd-surf and was ejected.

Tom Morris, artistic director of the Bristol Old Vic in England, had encouraged his audience to do away with the normal quiet etiquette at a performance of Handel's Messiah over the weekend, asking them to "clap or whoop when you like" and "no shushing other people".

But got more than he bargained for when visiting American scientist David Glowacki became so overcome with excitement during the Hallelujah Chorus he began lurching from side to side with his hands raised and whooping, before attempting to crowd-surf, witnesses told The Independent.

Irritated by the distraction, audience members proceeded to physically eject the Stanford University academic from the area, in what Morris claimed was the first such incident at a classical concert since the 18th century.

Morris said he wanted his audience to interact with his performance more than a typical classical audience, but admitted crowd-surfing during classical concerts would not be tolerated.

"He got very over-excited.

"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."

He added: "David was investigating what the nature of the rules are using the skills that make him an extraordinary scientist – and for some in the audience, a slightly irritating one."

Glowacki defended his actions and accused both Morris and his fellow audience members of hypocrisy in only approving of the right sort of "free" behaviour.

"Classical music, trying to seem cool and less stuffy, reeks of some sort of fossilised art form undergoing a midlife crisis," the expert in non-equilibrium molecular reaction dynamics said.

"Witness what happened to me when I started cheering with a 30-strong chorus shouting 'praise God' two metres 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 really believe what they say."

Many in the audience believed he was drunk but he staunchly denied the allegation.

"This may be a consequence of me being American, but I can quite easily be provocative without the need to be inebriated."


David Glowacki
DAVID GLOWACKI: 'Classical music, trying to seem cool and less stuffy, reeks of some sort of fossilised art form undergoing a midlife crisis.'