Autistic child who shouted 'Wow' after classical performance given free tickets by delighted orchestra

Orchestra has now offered Ronan Mattin free tickets to next performance and chance to meet conductor

Tim Wyatt
Saturday 11 May 2019 12:25
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Autistic child who shouted 'Wow' after classical performance invited back by delighted orchestra

An autistic child who rarely speaks charmed the audience at a classical music concert by exclaiming “Wow” immediately after a performance ended.

Nine-year-old Ronan Mattin, who struggles with speech but loves music, became an internet sensation when an audio recording of his spontaneous reaction went viral.

The orchestra, the Handel and Haydn Society, put out a plea online after the concert to try and track down the then-unknown “wow” child, prompting Ronan’s family to come forward.

Stephen Mattin, Ronan’s grandfather who took him to the concert in Boston, explained that while the nine-year-old enjoyed listening to music he almost never expressed how it made him feel.

“I can count on one hand the number of times that [he's] spontaneously ever come out with some expression of how he's feeling," Mr Mattin said.

In a radio recording of the concert, Ronan’s awestruck response is clearly audible as the orchestra finished the final note of Mozart’s Masonic Funeral Music.

The audience burst into laughter and applause after the boy’s “Wow” echoed around the almost silent concert hall.

“We don’t hear words often from him, so such a genuine, unprompted response like that was really, really special,” Ronan’s mother Rachel Mattin told a local TV station.

Back at home, Mr Mattin told the rest of the family about Ronan’s "wow" moment, but then thought little else of it until the Handel and Haydn Society sent an email to their supporters asking them if they could help track down the "wow" child.

The president of the orchestra, David Snead, wrote in the message he had never heard anything like it in more than four decades of classical music performing.

9-year-old boy blurted out ‘Wow!’ at the end of Mozart performance

“It was one of the most wonderful moments I’ve experienced in the concert hall,” he said.

Now the Mattin family have come forward, the orchestra has invited Ronan and his family to come and meet their conductor when he returns to perform in Boston on October, and offered them a copy of the famous recording.

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Ms Mattin said she was delighted Ronan’s love of classical music had made him so popular online.

“We’re glad he’s providing so much joy for others because he does for us every day,” she said.

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