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Alan Gilbert, New York Philharmonic Conductor, Halts Concert Over Ringing Cell Phone


New York Philharmonic conductor and music director Alan Gilbert stopped a performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony because a cell phone wouldn’t stop ringing.

The New York Post said the incident took place Tuesday night at Avery Fisher Hall.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for this. Usually when these things occur, we ignore them. But this is such an egregious disturbance that I am forced to stop,” the Post said Gilbert told the audience, turning toward the front row where the offending phone and its owner were located. “Would you please just admit it? It’s OK, just turn it off. Is it off now?”

According to the NY Daily, the annoying tone was none other than the iPhone marimba ring.

The newspaper added that some concertgoers yelled, “Throw him out!” referring to the phone’s owner and cheered Gilbert as he resumed the performance.

“Mr. Gilbert did what we all wanted to do,” said concertgoer Sarah Newman-Strauss, 57.

“Alan’s main concern was for the audience,” Philharmonic spokesman Eric Latzky told the Post. “And to have this most beautiful, and this most delicate, symphony stopped by an iPhone at its most vulnerable moment — [that] was what Alan was really concerned about, for the other 2,750 people in the hall.”

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal following the ordeal, Gilbert claimed the ringtone ruined his concentration during the symphony’s “most intense, most sublime, most emotional place.”

“I had to ask him many times,” Alan Gilbert told the WSJ. “It was bizarre. Maybe he was just so mortified that he just shut down and was paralyzed.”

Though the Philharmonic refused to identify the man, they did reveal he was a regular subscriber. The orchestra added it was the first time the music director had ever interrupted a performance due to a cellphone or other disruption.

Do you think Gilbert was right in his decision to stop the performance over the annoyance or should he have ignored it? Have you ever been interrupted at an important event due to a ringing cellular device? Ever been the interrupter?

Check out Youtube user Hanshorseback’s reenactment of the Alan Gibbert/ Marimba ringtone incident in the brief clip below:

And just because it fits:

via Fox

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11 Responses to “Alan Gilbert, New York Philharmonic Conductor, Halts Concert Over Ringing Cell Phone”

  1. Aundrea Stephens

    If he had reminded them at the start, then yes it was right. It distracted him. But, I mean anyone can forget so remind people at the start and if they still do it than yes call them on it. I bet the Iphone owner will NOT do that again.

  2. Ruth Crawford

    He was absolutely correct to stop the performance! Why in the world would any adult have to be reminded to turn the stupid phone off when attending a concert? Better yet…. why not leave it at home?

  3. Teri Gamboa

    If a person is that stupid to have to be reminded, then they shouldn't be there in the first place. Apparently this was a 'regular' subscriber, so you would think he would know better. What a jerk!!! And the conductor was in the right to stop the performance.

  4. Beth Pettit

    Why would a regular subscriber have to be reminded? If it's not your 1st concert than you should know better.Mr.Gilbert doesn't seem to have been rude about it.He asked politely on behalf of the almost 3000 other paying attendees who did turn their phones off.

  5. Aundrea Stephens

    Music is for everyone just because he forgot to turn off his phone does not make him stupid. Accidents happen But if he let it keep ringing because he was too embaressed to turn it off then he was in considerate. Not everyone can turn thier phone off or leave it in the car. He should have turn it off or put it to silence but he did not.. I think he has suffered enough embaressment as to Not do it again. Funny how many Perfect people are here.

  6. Lilly Coulter

    YES as a performing artist, you must know that we are NOT machines and this can totally mess us up, not to mention ruin the LIVE music for the audience! We have spent thousands of hours preparing for YOU, our listeners and it's wrong for someone to let their phone ruin it for all of us.

  7. Lillian Worton Castner

    As a regular subscriber, he must have been well aware that he should have turned off his cell. In addition, the audience is always kindly asked before the house lights go down to turn off their cell phones. The conductor was well in his rights to stop the performance – attending a concert like this is being present while a work of art is being created live. It is rude, ignorant and selfish to disrupt the artists. I hope the offender crawled on his hands and knees to the exit in shame.

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