VC VOX POP | “Are You Okay with Audiences Clapping Between Movements?” [Q&A]

The Violin Channel recently caught up with 30+ of the world’s top string players to find out …

Audience Clapping Cover 2

“Are you okay with audiences clapping between movements?”

The Violin Channel recently caught up with 30+ of the world’s top string players to find out …

Korean-American Violin Soloist Sarah Chang:

“Yes! It’s so natural … if they want to clap and feel inclined to do so … I’m grateful!”

Time For Three Violinist, VC Artist Charles Yang:

“Totally cool with me … I’m ok with them clapping within the movement if appropriate …”

Berlin Philharmonic Concertmaster, VC Artist Violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley:

“I don’t mind it so much, especially if the music seems to ask it …”

Canadian Violin Soloist James Ehnes:

“Yes … It’s better than booing between movements”

Australian Soloist, VC Artist Violinist Ray Chen:

“If the movement ends in fortissimo like the end of the first movement of Brahms or Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto then it’s actually kind of strange when the audience doesn’t applaud … a good audience knows how to react to the energy of the musicians on stage”

Canadian Violin Soloist Lara St. John:

“Yes, when the movement is exciting and people feel compelled to show appreciation … a great example is Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto’s first movement – if people don’t clap after that, you’re probably in a rehearsal … or Finland”

VC Artist Cellist Kian Soltani:

“Sure … I don’t have a problem with it … if they are exceptionally impressed by a certain movement it can give a big boost of confidence”

Curtis Institute Faculty Member, Violinist Ida Kavafian:

“Yes, but not so ok after movements that end softly …”

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Concertmaster, VC Artist Violinist Nikki Chooi:

“If the audience feels compelled to do so, I encourage it”

Dallas Symphony Concertmaster, Alexander Kerr:

“Sure … It’s sometimes distracting after a beautiful, slow movement but overall, if it comes from an overwhelming need to express their emotions, I have no problem with it whatsoever”

Russian-American Violin Soloist Philippe Quint:

“When it’s after the first movement of Tchaikovsky Concerto – I don’t mind! But when it’s after the second movement of Bach or Mozart Concerto it can be distracting to the music …”

Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers:

“Usually, though it depends on the music”

Cellist Zuill Bailey:

“I am absolutely fine when a member of the audience applauds between movements … cellists are in a position where they face the audience and can connect with them”

French Violinist Augustin Dumay:

“I don’t have any problem with that”

Veteran New England Conservatory Cello Pedagogue, Laurence Lesser:

“I’m not crazy about it … but it’s better than Japanese audiences of a long while ago which were taught to clap a bit very politely after each piece and then show their enthusiasm only at the end of the program”

Curtis Institute Violin Pedagogue, Aaron Rosand:

“Yes … because they were apparently moved with the performance”

Italian-German Soloist, VC Artist Violinist Augustin Hadelich:

“I usually don’t like it too much when there is applause after slow movements as that can disturb the mood … but clapping after the exciting ending of the first movement of a concerto is perfectly fine”

Violin Soloist Arnaud Sussman:

“Absolutely! I think it’s a shame people are afraid to express their feelings because of certain traditions and customs”

American Soloist, VC Artist Violinist Stefan Jackiw:

“Absolutely! My feeling is that if listeners are moved to express their joy, satisfaction, pleasure, or any other emotion, during a performance, they shouldn’t hold back … we performers are communicators, and it’s always nice to have feedback … hopefully positive”

VC Young Artist Violinist In Mo Yang:

“I don’t mind at all … it means they are paying attention … I even try to make them clap after climactic moments, even though it’s not the end of the piece …”

VC Artist Violinist Tessa Lark:

“I love it … the more exchange of energy between audience and performer the better … if I really feel there should be silence between movements I will make it obvious for the crowd”

VC Artist Violinist Benjamin Beilman:

“Of course! if you enjoy something you should be able to express your enthusiasm … my only hope is that the applause somehow reflects the emotion of the music” 

VC Artist Violinist Bella Hristova:

“Yes … that’s a practice that has changed over the years but I feel like if the audience likes it, they should feel free to express themselves”

VC Artist Violinist Paul Huang:

Yes, I’m fine with clapping between movements … it’s a sign that people really appreciate your work … but when movements are supposed to be attacca and an audience starts clapping then that’s distracting to the flow of the music”

VC Artist Violinist Igor Pikayzen:

“Don’t think such a big deal should be made out of it”

VC Young Artist Violinist Fedor Rudin:

“Absolutely … and 100% of the audience is absolutely not obliged to know the piece and how many movements it has … it’s all about discovering, more than educating …”

VC Young Artist Violinist Kerson Leong:

”I have no problem with it when the enthusiasm is genuine and spontaneous …”

VC Young Artist Violinist William Hagen:

“YES … I am so happy that people enjoy what they hear … why would I be unhappy with someone for applauding for me? …. I try to not take a bow until the end of a multi-movement piece to show that the movements are related, but it never rubs me the wrong way to hear the audience applauding”