The Night the Music Died. Really.

June 10, 2011 The New York Times/The Bay Citizen

Chamber music concerts rarely elicit reactions more raucous than polite applause, but last Sunday, an artistic melee more appropriate for a Metallica show broke out at The Royce Gallery in San Francisco after a heckler interrupted a viola performance. 

Video still of JHNO's viola in flight.  Courtesy, John Eichenseer.
Adding to the drama was the identity of the heckler, who turned out to be an 85-year-old highly regarded musician.

About midway through a night of contemporary works, John Eichenseer, who goes by the name JHNO, was performing his “Untitled,” a new piece for viola and electronics, when he heard hissing, then an outburst of clapping intended to disrupt his playing, then another.

“It became distracting to the point that I couldn’t continue,” JHNO said later.

He threw down his instrument and stormed off the stage. The sound of his viola cracking — the headstock had snapped off — echoed through the small theater.  (more)                          


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