iPhone ringtone brings NY Philharmonic to a halt

January 14, 2012 4:44 am


NEW YORK, Jan 13 – A New York Philharmonic music fan’s cell phone added a few extra tones to a concert this week that no one appreciated — especially the orchestra’s exasperated conductor.

As the orchestra played the soft finale to Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, the iPhone of a man seated near the front jangled to life, its ringtone playing a marimba.

The conductor, Alan Gilbert, took the unusual step of stopping the symphony to direct a disapproving glare and a reprimand at the audience member.

“It was actually the loudest thing in the hall,” Gilbert said in a television interview. “Something had to be done.”

While the ringtone continued, some members of the audience shouted, “Get out” and “Kick him out.”

Gilbert said normally he would never stop a concert but the volume and long duration of the ringtone made him think, “Okay, what do we do? We have to finish this piece somehow.”

The offender, a man in his sixties who has not been identified, fumbled with his newly acquired gadget until it was silenced.

He told the New York Times it took him a while to realize he was the one holding the offending phone.

His company had given him the device a day earlier, and he did not know the alarm clock on it was set, he said.

“You can imagine how devastating it is to know you had a hand in that,” he said. “It’s horrible, horrible. I hope the people at that performance and members of the orchestra can certainly forgive me for this whole event.”

“I apologize to the whole audience.”

Since then, the incident has been reported widely on music blogs.


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