South Korean violinist Kyung-Wha Chung has shocked audiences at the Royal Festival Hall by publicly berating the parents of a coughing child.
The 66-year-old musician had been absent from the London stage for 12 years, partly due to a finger injury.
Kyung-Wha Chung took offence at a child coughing during her performance of Mozart’s Sonata In G.
Anna Picard, music critic for The Times, said the atmosphere in the hall had already been tense, such was the anticipation surrounding the violinist’s comeback.
British violinist Thomas Gould was also in the audience, and tweeted: “Difficult to be charmed by Kyung-Wha Chung’s Mozart after her curious outburst at parents of a coughing child.
“But the raised temperatures added an extra belligerence to her taut Prokofiev.”
Fellow string player Elizabeth Stahlmann noted that there were “plenty of people coughing” during the performance and it was “not cool to pick on a child”.
Coughing is a particular problem for classical performers in the winter months. An academic paper released in 2013 even suggested that people appear to cough more in concerts than in they do in normal life.
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