Recently, one of the world's most renowned violinists played again after a five-year hiatus. In classical circles, the performance was kind of a big deal. So when a young child kept coughing, Kyung Wha Chung had to speak up.
Bear in mind it was the first time Chung played in Britain in 12 years. So you can imagine enthusiasts were miffed by the continual coughing that overlapped her performance. Eventually the virtuoso herself - who had paused and waited for the coughing to subside only for it to resume - snapped. She interrupted Mozart’s Sonata in G to suggest to the girl's parents that they should “maybe bring her back when she’s older.”
By all accounts the girl wasn't the only one coughing, yet hers was “quite loud and seemed quite aggressive.”
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If it seems cruel of Chung to pick on and single out the child, put yourself in her musical giant shoes for a moment. Here she is, feeling the weight of the comeback pressure in her fingertips. How can she concentrate with all that yakety-yaking going on? If her performance suffers, the critics won't take into account the disturbance.
"We don’t discourage parents or caregivers who wish to bring young people to an evening event and we do where possible check that they are aware of the nature of the event,” said a venue spokesperson, in terms far more diplomatic than I would use.