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: