Protest in Philadelphia over orchestra’s performances in Israel

Activists had been protesting outside nearly all of the orchestra’s Kimmel concerts for the last several weeks.

YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN. (Jan Regan) (photo credit: Courtesy)
YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN. (Jan Regan)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra in their hometown was disrupted last weekend by pro-Palestinian demonstrators who stopped traffic and disrupted the performance of Tosca at the Kimmel Center. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, two of the protesters that entered the hall led music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin to slam his baton on the podium and walk off the stage. Some musicians began to leave, too, before the protesters, who were loudly booed by the audience, were forcibly removed.
The paper reported that after the 10-minute disruption, the orchestra’s interim co-president, Matthew Loden, told the audience: “We live in an age where dissent is important. It matters. It should be heard.
But the sanctity of the concert hall should be respected.”
Activists had been protesting outside nearly all of the orchestra’s Kimmel concerts for the last several weeks ahead of the orchestra’s visit to Israel for shows in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on June 3-5.
“On this tour, we are looking forward to our concerts and residency activities, which will enable us to interact with Israeli citizens and to unite people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs through the universal language of music,” Nézet-Séguin recently told The Jerusalem Post.

Sarah Hershenson contributed to this report.