St. Louis Symphony concert briefly interrupted by Michael Brown protest

Posted on: October 6, 2014

“Michael Brown protesters interrupted the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s concert on Saturday night, causing a brief delay in the performance at Powell Symphony Hall,” writes Sarah Bryan Miller in Monday’s (10/6) St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The orchestra and chorus were preparing to perform Johannes Brahms’ Requiem just after intermission when two audience members in the middle aisle on the main floor began singing an old civil rights tune, ‘Which Side Are You On?’ They soon were joined, in harmony, by other protesters, who stood at seats in various locations on the main floor and in the balcony. The protesters then unfurled three hand-painted banners and hung them from the Dress Circle boxes. One banner listed the birth and death date of Brown, who was shot by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. The five-minute interruption was met with a smattering of applause from some audience members, as well as members of the orchestra and chorus. Others simply watched as the orchestra remained silent. The protest ended quietly as participants left voluntarily, chanting, ‘Black lives matter.’ Conductor Markus Stenz resumed the concert shortly thereafter…. Before leaving, the protesters scattered red paper hearts over the edge of the balcony…. They read, in part: ‘Requiem for Mike Brown.’ ” In his blog, New Yorker music critic Alex Ross includes an audio clip of the protest from the St. Louis National Public Radio broadcast of the concert.

Posted October 6, 2014

Large photo: Powell Hall, home of the St. Louis Symphony; inset: one of the flyers that protesters passed out at the October 4 concert (inset photo credit: Adam Crane)