Orchestra finds boy who couldn’t contain excitement at Symphony Hall concert

"You know, everybody's different. Everybody has different ways of expressing themselves."

Stephen and Ronan Mattin (Courtesy of Mattin family)
Stephen and Ronan Mattin. –Courtesy of Mattin family

Update: Handel and Haydn have found the boy who recently charmed a Symphony Hall audience with an audible “Wow!” at the end of a Mozart piece.

Ronan Mattin, 9, lives in Kensington, New Hampshire, WGBH News reports. He was attending the concert with his grandfather, Stephen, who told the news site that he “can count on one hand the number of times that [Ronan’s] spontaneously ever come out with some expression of how he’s feeling.”

Ronan is on the autism spectrum, Stephen Mattin explained, adding that he was touched by the positive reaction.

“You know, everybody’s different. Everybody has different ways of expressing themselves,” he told WGBH News.


Handel and Haydn is arranging for Ronan to meet with conductor Harry Christophers.

Read more at WGBH News.


Original story:

A young child said what everyone was thinking at the end of a Handel and Haydn performance Sunday — in a perfectly-timed outburst that echoed in a packed Symphony Hall. And now the orchestra is searching for the boy to thank him for the joyful moment.

The boy, estimated to be about 6 years old, let out a resounding “Wow!” in the silence at the end of Mozart’s “Masonic Funeral Music.” He was answered by cheers and laughter from the audience.

Handel and Haydn President and CEO David Snead told Boston.com the exclamation, which was captured in a WCRB recording, came at the end of a particularly “quiet, contemplative piece” that ends with the swell of a major chord and fades to silence — a breath-holding moment for most in the audience.

“The audience is just rapt and quiet, and somewhere in the back comes this ‘wow.’ It was perfect” he said. “We all kind of felt that way, too, but because we were grown-ups, we didn’t say it.” 

Snead wrote a letter to concert attendees asking for the public’s help identifying the child, hoping to give him the opportunity to meet conductor Harry Christophers and attend an upcoming performance. He called the experience “one of the most wonderful moments I’ve experienced in the concert hall.”


Snead said he wants to thank the boy for reminding all in the concert hall that the future of classical music is “alive and well” — that the genre isn’t only for adults.

“The little kid doesn’t know the rules,” he said. “It was a moment of joy, really.”


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