Fistfight Stuns Patrons At Chicago Symphony Orchestra

CHICAGO (STMW) – It gets so quiet during the second movement of the Brahms Symphony No. 2, you could almost hear a pin drop.

Or a sneeze. Or a fist hitting a face.

Such was the case Thursday night at Orchestra Hall in a ruckus the Chicago Symphony Orchestra officially described as “an incident” between “two patrons.” But shocked concert-goers and police called it a fist fight in one of the boxes — where the elite typically sit and expect a more refined experience.

Just as the second movement was drawing to a gentle close — with Music Director Riccardo Muti at the podium — a man in his 30s, according to police, started punching a 67-year-old man inside one of the boxes.

“We heard a rather loud thump,” said Steve Robinson, general manager of Chicago’s classical and folk music station 98.7 WFMT, who was at the performance but didn’t see the fight. “It wasn’t so loud that everyone jumped up and ran for the exits.”

Some in the audience thought a patron had suffered some kind of medical emergency. But police said it was a fight stemming from an argument over seats in the box.

“According to the victim, the offender became irate and struck him several times,” police said.

The victim was left with a cut on his forehead, while the other man left before police arrived, authorities said.

The concert never stopped, but Muti shot a glance over his left shoulder toward the box where the punches were thrown. One concert-goer described the look as “dagger eyes.”

Robinson said Muti merely paused longer than would be expected and then continued on to the third movement — after getting a signal from someone up in the box.

“Mind you, he never stopped conducting,” Robinson said. “He very gracefully, without missing a beat — literally — he brought [the second movement] to a very quiet and subdued close, while still looking over his left shoulder.”

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • leprechaun for a day

    I wonder if the “victim” was Daley! MU-ha-ha-ha-ha

    • Mozart

      Q: What’s warm and brown and sits on a piano bench?
      A: Beethoven’s fifth movement.

      • DemsØutInNovember

        What’s black and white and RED all over?

        Barack Hussein Obama, and SeeBS’ web page.

      • beagal

        *Rolls eyes*

      • beagal

        Hey, watch it! I was born on Beethoven’s birthday–years later, of course!

      • Orchestra Ting The News

        cbslocal linked to from the Drudge Report over the last 3 weeks has become nothing more than Psyops stories. Unelected officials took over Washington and the media. They think you can’t handle the truth. Fact of the matter is we have no democracy, president, and freedom of press is an illusion.

        Our next election is shaping up to be as big of a sham as the last. Do you know why Sarah Palin’s bus tour was really canceled? Do you know why she stayed 30 miles away from the second debate and chose the death of Steve Jobs to announce that she’s not running? Know what leaked out? Sarah Palin and Cain aren’t in the race for the same reason, the truth leaked out. Search PalinsDirtyLittleSecret for the biggest cover up in history

    • Wayne Bennett

      I didn’t know ‘neighbors’ attended the symphony.

      • Jeff

        Methinks it was a friend of Moochelle Hussein from the southside.. who apparently got irate on learning it wasn’t a hip hop concert.

      • Urif Aggot

        hahaha!! I rarely hear that one sused.. Not many people know of that synonym ! :) good job :)

      • Urif Aggot

        hahaha!! I rarely hear that one used.. Not many people know of that synonym ! :) good job :)

    • NowYouKnow

      Were you there? Did you see what happened? Do you know the why it happened? Tell us. Otherwise save space on the server.

      • Johnny

        Umm, there is plenty of space on the server. Let him talk.


    It’s been said music hath charm to soothe the savage beast.

    So much for THAT old proverb.

    If this happened at a rock concert or a hip-hop jam (as it frequently does),
    I doubt this would even be considered newsworthy.

    • AZFelix

      This story gave me a flashback to this:

    • Silhouette

      Please accept this as CONSTRUCTIVE….the saying is from a quote which reads in part, “…to soothe the savage BREAST…” It refers to the rapid breathing and pounding heart experienced with fear or anger (anger being the main point”

  • Victor Paredes


    Symphony Orchestra and a fistfight is PRECELESS !!!!!

    • leprechaun for a day

      Yup, that’s a pretty ROWDY crowd down there @ Orchestra Hall.

    • karl anglin

      First time I ever heard of a fistfight
      at a symphony concert.

    • fiscusd

      Learning to spell Priceless…is also PRICELESS!!

      • Vicky Bevis

        Learning to spell PERIOD also is priceless!

      • ablecynic


  • ManOnPoint

    Sounds like typical Chicago thuggery to me!!!

  • Rahmland's Finest

    Chicago where the ill-mannered,boorish Oafs congregate. Where violence and corruption are the norm.

  • poorhardworker

    So much for the “classy” people in the box seats! Sounds like Chicago “usual”. Been ther,m done that…not need to live in Illinois again!

    • poorhardworker

      With a caveat…this is one of the most beautiful cities I have seen and ever live in (17 miles SW in Hinsdale). Love living in DPage County and visiting the city.!

      • Robere

        If Chicago is one of the most beautiful cities you have ever seen then you have definitely lived an restricted life and have not seen much of what the world has to offer,

      • mr opus

        Europeans I have met say it’s beautiful as well and very clean. But I would say there is a dark underbelly.

  • Bill Jones

    It was rappers with too much money.

  • Frank Sinatra

    My kind of town, Chicago is!

    • Robere

      Teke it, you’re welcomed to it.

  • ChicagObama

    Saul Alinsky would be proud…

  • enoughAlready911

    Chicago is a cesspool of crime, corruption and entitlement slackers.
    You get what you vote for.

    I apologize and have sympathy for the 20% of those living in Chicago who do not fit that description. Your only hope is to move as the corruption which drives it all is simply too ingrained without total collapse first.

    • Linz

      Really? Give Detroit a try sometime.

  • been banned

    Same thing happened in the same place a few years ago over a candy wrapper sound bugging somebody….

    • JustMe

      I have to admit that drives me crazy. I’d never punch somebody over it, but I feel like it sometimes.

  • Mewbs

    I bet it was Crazy Joe Davola

  • HPS

    WHERE is the REST of the story..? DID the 67 year old man KNOW his attacker? DID they have words? and it’s nice to know there are so many MEN who most likely spend their free time WORKING OUT but couldn’t manage to STOP a 30 year old.. WHERE ARE ALL THE SO CALLED MEN?? but as per usual MSM gives 1/2 the story

    • dph

      The “so-called men” are probably not the type to be attending a symphony.

      I agree that there is much to this story that is missing.

    • Robere

      Please, for the sake of all you know and love, do get back on your medication.

      • fiscusd


  • Edward von Richthoven

    What do you expect from a town loaded with thugs….after all, Chicago “bred” Obama!

  • SydBloomWashington

    The O’Bummer stain spreads li a virus…

    • Guest

      Now he’ll have to face the music.

  • exbobbie

    Back in the day, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was one of the best orchestra’s in the world, and still is, it’s probably the only good thing left in Chicago and it still attracts top ranked conductors, shame it’s surrounded by such filth, decay and corruption.

    • CKAinRedStateUSA

      Not in my wildest imaginations would I believe something like this could’ve, would’ve happened.

      One observation: The assailant was a man in his late 30s striking a man who may have been the age of his father. The more of hear of the 30-somethings, the more I wonder about many of them: Did they ever learn anything about respect, manners and decency?

      • ab

        no, our parents were too busy divorcing to teach us respect, manners, and decency

    • Vicky Bevis

      Couldn’t agree more. But other major symphonies are in bad cities for crime, also:
      Pittsburgh ( not so much as there is a lot of police presence & restaurants & plenty of good lighting@ Heinz Hall)
      (Don’t know if they even HAVE a symphony in Detroit anymore)

      Every day when I read headlines, I’m shorcked ( don’t know why?) at the fact that something new can actually shock me. We’re a failed society.

      • Camille

        Detroit has an excellent orchestra led by leonard slatkin.

      • Linz

        “Detroit has an excellent orchestra led by leonard slatkin.”

        True Camille, but…… know what Detroit has become over the last 30 years or so. I feel much safer walking down Rush St. than Woodward Ave. at night.

    • ablecynic

      I first went to a concert in 1980 and it was a fantastic experience (no fistfights back the, those were reserved for Soldier Field as I recall). Sad to see the city and its culture decline.

    • Stan M

      True, and a comment that needed to be made amidst all the tomfoolery here.

    • Music lover

      The Chidago Opera is still pretty good, I hear.

  • Robere

    Ah, yes….high society and high culture. Well, maybe not so much.

  • Mike Merryman

    ‘Violins’ in the streets and in the music hall.

    • JustMe

      I bet they had unprotected sax, too.

      • Guest

        Yes, because there’s always room for cello.

      • OregonRight

        Then a bowl of cello and a nap.

  • RightUnite

    Boy, you just can’t take those Chicago thugs anywhere, can you??

  • Nobama City

    It’s Thug City what do you expect? The people there have no class…

  • Ursus Magnus

    Only in Thugcago.

  • Colin

    I wonder if he “baroque” his nose.

    • JustMe

      Well, he won’t get any symphony from me.

      • Mike Merryman

        He just couldn’t Handel it.

        Oh, well Bach to work.

    • Melissa Lipnutz


    • BobJ


  • BLITZ – 3/12/11: Head Games | JAYFORCE

    […] Fistfight Breaks Out At Chicago Symphony Orchestra […]

  • Finbar

    I would stay at home and listen to my Brahms No. 2 CD, but I don’t want to be considered anti-social.

  • Hedley Lamar

    So, some black guy beat up an old white guy in Chicago…. How is that news?

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