Apologetic police shut down classical music show in London street for breaking lockdown rules

30 April 2020, 11:57

By Asher McShane

A classical music performance to lift the spirits of people on a street in London was shut down by police who feared it would encourage people to break lockdown rules.

Violinist Rafael Todes, 53, a member of the Allegri String Quartet, his wife Helena Newman, and their children had been performing Shostakovich's String Quartet No4 in the street in west London when police turned up.

One of the officers can be heard saying:  “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."

Police shut down the orchestra performance
Police shut down the orchestra performance. Picture: Facebook

The current government advice states:

- Only go out for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)

- If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times

- Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

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!"

Simon Messinger, who is Silver Commander for the Met's Covid-19 policing operation, said: "This video illustrates how we encourage our officers to engage in what can sometimes be challenging circumstances.

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"The officer can clearly be heard explaining in a polite and informative manner his rationale for asking the performance to stop.

"No matter how positive the sentiment, if groups of people start to gather in public places then it is our officers' duty to encourage people to move on for the safety of everyone.

"On this occasion, those involved were happy to act on our officers advice and we're grateful for the continued co-operation of all Londoners during this unique time."