Enough with the coughing, violinist says

Minnesota classical music fans, you cough too much.

Just ask Hilary Hahn, the one-time child prodigy who’d had it with your hacks at a concert at the Ordway last week.

So she offered some advice on being a better patron of the arts.

WQXR, writing about the incident, says a study in 2012 showed that people tend to cough more during modern works and slow movements.

  • Hugh Shakeshaft

    Markand Thakar once passed out cough drops before a show in Duluth. Coughing is the bane of musicians and concert goers alike. During one adagio, I thought for a minute I had woken up in a tuberculosis ward.

  • KTFoley

    I was there. The first piece was six short works by John Cage, a modern composer best known for his experimental music. (Actually, best known for 4’33” but that’s a digression.)

    There was a wave of coughing in the silence that followed that piece, followed by a ripple of laughter at the coughing itself.

    It didn’t happen until the finish. Hillary reacted, but gracefully. It didn’t recur.

    So two things are born out: (1) When material like John Cage’s requires full concentration to appreciate, letting the attention rest probably does release some coughing. (2) It was enough to notice, onstage and in the audience.

    But I think this story tells us more about Twitter’s abject limitations than about our collective respiratory condition. Based on two 144-character tweets, people who weren’t there have a lot to say about what she must have experienced and how significant it must have been and what it must say about us. Really, not so much.

  • Jack

    With the improved acoustics of the Ordway, I can only imagine that the impact of coughing is much greater than it used to be.

    • KTFoley

      This concert was in the existing Ordway Music Theatre space with the same acoustics as before. The improved acoustics are in the newly-built Ordway Concert Hall.

  • John Peschken

    What a primadonna. Develop a little mental toughness.