Boycott Backfire: Concert Sells Out After Leftists Protest Dennis Prager and the Santa Monica Symphony

August 15, 2017

Ticket Sales Surge After Santa Monica City Council Members and UCLA Professors Call for Boycott of Aug. 16 Concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

August 15, 2017

Despite efforts from the left to boycott an Aug.16 concert of the Santa Monica Symphony guest conducted by talk show host and founder of PragerU, Dennis Prager, the event has sold out.

“It’s safe to say that we are pleased by the result,” said Marissa Streit, CEO of PragerU. “Thousands of people, both here in Los Angeles and around the country responded to this most recent attempt by the illiberal left to silence and demonize people who don’t share their politics. A sold-out concert means Dennis will be able to raise more money for the Santa Monica Symphony and expose more people to classical music. That is why he accepted the invitation to guest conduct the concert in the first place. Ironically, calls for a boycott have only helped the cause.”

Santa Monica Symphony conductor, Guido Lamell, a longtime member of the violin section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, invited Prager to guest conduct the orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Wednesday, August 16. A longtime student and admirer of classical music, Prager has been guest conducting symphonies for years, including the orchestras of Brentwood-Westwood, Glendale, the West Los Angeles Symphony, the Pasadena Lyric Opera and even the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.

The protest of the Wednesday concert was organized by three members of the orchestra, each of whom has refused to play that night. Perhaps unsurprisingly, two of the three organizers are college professors: Michael Chwe, a professor of political science at UCLA, and Andrew Apter, a professor of history at UCLA.

In an open letter to the symphony’s members posted on the Slipped Disc website, the three wrote, “A concert with Dennis Prager would normalize hatred and bigotry.” The letter also lists additional support for the symphony boycott from Mayor Ted Winterer, Santa Monica City Council, Mayor Pro Tempore Gleam Davis, Santa Monica City Council, Councilmember Kevin McKeown, Santa Monica City Council, and various other professors and local officials.

In response to their calls for protest, PragerU has created an online petition where individuals can voice their support for Dennis Prager and the Santa Monica Orchestra. The petition reads:

“Sign the petition below telling these left-wing activists (Santa Monica city officials included) that their opposition to Dennis Prager conducting an orchestra is itself bigotry…[and] send a message that you stand for a conservative’s right to make music and support our efforts against ideological discrimination.”

MEDIA NOTE: PragerU founder Dennis Prager is available for interview, as is PragerU’s CEO, Marissa Streit. Contact:


PragerU, founded by Dennis Prager in 2011, is a not-for-profit organization that helps millions understand the values that shaped America and provides millions of Americans and people around the world with the intellectual ammunition they need to advocate for limited government, individual responsibility and economic freedom. In 2016 alone, PragerU’s videos received over 250 million views, a figure that will eclipse 350 million in 2017. PragerU is a resource for all who value liberty. It is a threat to all those who do not.