Ringtone Halts New York Philharmonic Mid-Song

Jan 12, 2012 2:07pm

For the first time ever, a performance of the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center was halted, a record broken courtesy of a ringing cell phone.

Tuesday night, during the final movements of Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, the music was brought to a dramatic halt by Maestro Alan Gilbert.

The culprit?  The distinctive sound of iPhone’s “Marimba” ringtone.

A ringing phone in the first row could be heard throughout the Center’s Avery Fisher Hall each time the symphony came to a quiet moment in the performance.

It was then that Maestro Gilbert sharply turned his head to signal to the offending audience member that that was enough, reports the Wall Street Journal, who happened to have a reporter in the audience.

The ringtone continued to the point where Gilbert turned to the audience and asked that the culprit, said to be a male and a regular Philharmonic attendee, quiet his phone.

Gilbert finally stopped the orchestra mid-song until it happened, and resumed the concert’s grand finale only after he received confirmation that it would not happen again.

Gilbert asked the culprit, “Is it off? It won’t come on again?” and received an affirmative nod, reports the Journal.

Gilbert was said to be greeted with “thunderous applause” by the rest of the audience, which had earlier booed and jeered their fellow attendee to silence the phone.

“We’ll try again,” he said, before leading his orchestra through the rest of Mahler’s piece.

Ironically, actor Alec Baldwin, who was kicked off an American Airlines flight in December for refusing to turn off his iPhone, narrates the recorded announcement played before each of the Philharmonic’s performances that reminds the audience to silence their cell phones.

Note: A photo used in the video above is from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, not the New York Philharmonic.

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