Why was a scientist thrown out of a classical concert?


David Glowacki, a theoretical chemist, was forcibly ejected from a performance of Handel's Messiah last week when he attempted to crowd surf.

Dr. Glowacki has a really interesting background that would likely make him a hit with our readers even before the classical music crowd surfing thing. He's the creator of a traveling art installation called Danceroom Spectroscopy, an interactive visualization of the atomic-scale world designed to respond to human movement.

It's also worth noting that Dr. Glowacki's behavior at the Handel concert can be explained by the context — a different sort of interactive theatrical experiment.

When Tom Morris launched the Bristol Proms, he invited audiences to participate with enthusiasm in a festival which would destroy the stuffy conventions of traditional classical concerts. … Before a performance of the Messiah, Mr Morris, who directed War Horse at the National Theatre, invited the audience to bring beer into a standing "mosh pit" in front of the stage and delivered the Bristol Proms rules: "Clap or whoop when you like, and no shushing other people."

… According to witnesses, Dr Glowacki responded to the crescendo of the "Hallelujah Chorus" by lurching from side to side, raising his hands, whooping and then attempting an ambitious crowd-surfing manoeuvre. Other audience members, who found Dr Glowacki a distraction, took matters into their own hands and physically ejected him from the arena.

Basically, the director of the concert set up a casual "wild and crazy" scenario and, apparently, only Glowacki took him seriously.

Image: Some rights reserved by Lauren Murphy.