Archive for Thursday, February 21, 2002

Orchestra’s behavior no symphony to airline crew

February 21, 2002


Lied Center officials got a chuckle out of news that members of a distinguished orchestra set to perform in Lawrence next week were booted off a commercial airliner Monday for bad behavior.

"We're kind of taking it in a pretty lighthearted way because they were so wonderful last time they were here," said Brad Knauss, assistant director of marketing.

About 90 members of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Russia's oldest symphony orchestra, were escorted from a United Airlines flight after breaking out bottles of liquor and becoming rowdy en route to a performance in Los Angeles, airline officials said.

The orchestra will perform next Thursday at the Lied Center. It will be the group's second appearance there.

"They were great the last time they were here," Knauss said. "They were very well-behaved and gave a wonderful performance."

Orchestra members were aboard a flight Monday from Amsterdam when some began talking loudly and bothering other passengers, airline officials said. After some refused to take their seats or follow crew members' orders, the orchestra members were removed from the flight during a scheduled stop at Washington's Dulles International Airport.

After spending a night in a hotel, they were allowed to board another flight to Los Angeles on Tuesday and were still expected to perform at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion there on Wednesday night.

"We outlined a conduct agreement that, while in flight, our crew is in charge," said United spokeswoman Susana Leyva. "Our representative was very confident that they would observe all safety rules on board the flight."

They were in "much different spirits" when they returned to the airport on Tuesday, Leyva said.

Philharmonic spokeswoman Yekaterina Grebentsova said she doubted the incident was extreme as reports she has seen.

"All these talks seem to present some exaggerated rumors taking place on the background of a noticeably negative attitude toward Russia lately," she said. "Just look at the Olympics."

The orchestra's concert Wednesday kicked off a monthlong American tour. Its Lawrence performance was 300 tickets away from selling out on Wednesday afternoon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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