“The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus returned to the stage of Symphony Hall Thursday night, after nine weeks of lockout,” writes Mark Gresham in Saturday’s (11/15) Atlanta Constitution-Journal. “It performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, featuring ASO concertmaster David Coucheron as soloist, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, led by ASO music director Robert Spano. The audience exploded wildly into a thunderous standing ovation for the musicians as the orchestra took the stage together, then kicked off the concert with ‘The Star Spangled Banner,’ the long-standing tradition of opening-night performances.… As Spano, Coucheron and the orchestra were about to begin the Mozart concerto, one man in the audience shouted, ‘Welcome back!,’ which got some cheers and applause.… Although the collective bargaining agreement was successfully wrapped up in time for this concert, many of the ASO’s musicians are still committed to temporary engagements with orchestras elsewhere.… Of the 71 musicians onstage for the Beethoven, 31 were contracted substitutes. The apparent musical consequence seemed to be a choice by Spano to take relatively slow tempos.… Given the context of the concert, a thoroughly warm and long response from the audience was warranted at the end.… Perhaps the desire of Atlanta audiences to attend ASO concerts was grossly underestimated.”

Posted November 17, 2014

Pictured: The audience at Atlanta’s Symphony Hall on November 13. Photo by Jeff Roffman