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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 …

“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 1st 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 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, Ida Kavafian:

“Yes, but not so ok after movements that end softly ..."

Canadian 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 ..."

American 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 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"

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