Orchestra delayed on airplane performs 'pop-up' concert

Image: Philadelphia Orchestra

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By Kurt Schlosser

Being stuck on an airplane during a delay never sounds like a fun way to pass the time, but a live classical music concert is a great way to ease the discomfort.

Members of The Philadelphia Orchestra were delayed on the tarmac for three hours on Friday waiting for a flight from Beijing to Macao. The orchestra is currently doing a residency and 40th anniversary tour of China.

In a video uploaded to YouTube, musicians are seen crammed among seats and beneath overhead bins as others around them try to capture the "pop-up" concert on cameras and phones. A voice comes over the airplane's intercom: "Nee how, The Philadelphia Orchestra is on tour in China, and on the way to Macao. And our musicians would like to offer you a musical surprise."

Two violin players, a viola player and a cello player then launch into the Finale of the String Quartet No. 12, the American Quartet, by composer Antonin Dvorak. And you thought only snakes on a plane made for great entertainment!

The musicians play for about 6 minutes. At the 1:55 mark, the string music is accompanied by a ringing cellphone. And at the 3:19 mark, the person shooting the video turns the camera sideways, making us all very happy this isn't an in-flight performance.

The piece ends with applause from those on the airplane and shouts of encore. So, next time the guy in front of you reclines his seat into your lap, maybe you'll get lucky and find he's just making room for his cello.