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Applause etiquette

February 08, 2009

I very much enjoyed your article on clapping at concerts. ("It's Time for Applause Police to Call off Concert Hall Duty," Feb. 1)

I attend many concerts during the season in L.A. and Orange County and I have to say that I find applauding between movements annoying and intrusive. In some cases it nearly wrecks the experience for me.

Only this past week, when the San Francisco Symphony was in town at Disney Hall, it all got so bad that an exasperated Michael Tilson Thomas had to ask the audience to refrain from applauding between movements of the Brahms first symphony, the final work of the second evening. Yet they clapped anyway, even at the end of the slow, quiet movement, making it impossible to savor the moment of Brahms' brilliance.

At one L.A. Phil concert last year, people started clapping several measures before a piece ended. I went twice to that particular concert, and the second time around, Esa-Pekka Salonen asked the audience to wait until it was over. It worked.

Call me a snob, or an elitist, or whatever else you like, but please hold your applause!

John Batjiaka


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