Rumble In The Pit

As Brahms played in the background, a 67-year-old man was punched repeatedly over a seat dispute at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall March 8.

Maestro Riccardo Muti was close to finishing the second movement of Brahms’ “Symphony No. 2” when two men in the boxes went at it, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“We heard a rather loud thump,” a radio station GM told the paper, noting he did not see the actual fracas. “It wasn’t so loud that everyone jumped up and ran for the exits.”

The fight reportedly began when a man in his 30s started punching the older man, apparently because of the seat he was sitting in. Police said the older man had a cut on his forehead and the younger man left before they arrived.

Meanwhile, Muti played on, while glaring over his shoulder at the two men.

“Out of the corner of my eye, I saw some strange movements, and somebody going out of one of the boxes,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “My first reaction, when I heard the noise, was that somebody had fallen down and was not feeling well.”

He added that it was ironic that Brahms’ music was written to express consolation, not aggression.

“I hope it was not my interpretation that brought this on,” he said.