Wednesday, January 11, 2012

At the NY Phil, please silence your cell phones ... or else

Maestro Alan Gilbert
It's evident by the growing conversation in Twitterville, that something went down at the NY Philharmonic performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony last night.

Evidently, an iPhone's marimba ring-tone sounded repeatedly from the front row of Avery Fisher Hall during the final moments of Mahler's last completed work.

"[Maestro Alan] Gilbert was visibly annoyed by the persistent ring-tone, so much that he quietly cut the orchestra," an eyewitness reported. She related how the maestro turned on the podium towards the offender. The pause lasted a good "three or four minutes. It might have been two. It seemed long."

Maestro Gilbert asked the man, sitting in front of the concert-master: "Are you finished?" The man didn't respond. "Fine, we'll wait," Gilbert said.

The audience went crazy - some shouting for security to kick the man out, while others shouted that the man should be slapped with a "thousand dollar fine". These people aren't messing around - if you tear them from Mahler's music, they'll cut somebody. NY audiences feel a deep tie to Mahler since he conducted the Phil during the last years of his life.

The ringing stopped. "Did you turn it off?" Maestro Gilbert asked.

The man nodded.

"It won't go off again?"

The man shook his head.

Before resuming, Maestro Gilbert addressed the audience: "I apologize. Usually, when there's a disturbance like this, it is best to ignore it, because addressing it is sometimes worse than the disturbance itself. But this was so egregious that I could not allow it."

"We'll start again." The audience cheered.

At that point, Maestro Gilbert turned to the orchestra and said "Number 118" ... they picked up the movement and played the work through to its near silent conclusion.

Word to the wise ... when they say "Please turn off your cell phones." they really mean it.

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