Thursday, 30 April 2020

Police close down family string quartet playing classical music for their neighbours

An impromptu classical orchestra was shut down after police feared it would cause quarantined neighbours to flout lockdown measures amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Violinist Rafael Todes, 53, a member of the Allegri String Quartet, his wife Helena Newman, and children Isabella and Max, who have been entertaining residents with their music for six weeks, had been performing Shostakovich's String Quartet No4 when police arrived to their property in Bayswater, west London.

The family, who had been performing their ensemble from their front garden, were told by the two officers that their music may encourage residents to gather on the street. 

Footage filmed by the family showed one of the officers apologetically tell them: 'I don't enjoy this part of the job but it's going to cause the street to keep gathering. I'm not here to fine you don't worry but the whole street can't be doing this. 

'I hear what you're doing, it's good music but obviously it's going to keep causing the street to block. I do apologise, it's very good.'

A message on the musician's Facebook page later read: 'The final pop-up Alexander Street Quartet Concert. Shostakovich's 4th Quartet closed down by the Police -tactfully!' 

Mr Todes, who is a teacher at the Royal Academy of Music and whose wife plays the viola, said that the family first began their street performances after a resident requested a performance for another neighbour's birthday.

The talented instrumentalists have since been sharing their small concerts on Facebook with Mr Todes' daughter Isabella, 17, playing the violin and his son Max playing the cello.

The violinist told The Daily Telegraph: 'About five weeks ago a neighbour asked us during lockdown whether we could do a little concert for the lady who lived upstairs.

'So we did that and people in the street watched and somebody said ''you've got to do this again next week''.' 

The musician, who will now put his public concerts on hold in accordance with police advice, added that there was a certain irony that the very piece of music the family had been playing had been written by Shostakovich when he was terrified of being arrested by Joseph Stalin's regime. 


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