Books & Music Are you finished? New York Philharmonic conductor dramatically halts performance


So Sweet!
Aug 2, 2007
Born in the USA
Bravo to the conductor:

Are you quite finished? New York Philharmonic conductor dramatically halts performance after cell phone interruption

  • Marimba ringtone was heard in final bars of Mahler's Ninth symphony

By Hannah Roberts

Last updated at 1:48 PM on 12th January 2012 Final straw: New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert saw red when a mobile phone went off during a New York Philharmonic performance

For many it is just one of the daily afflictions of the digital age.
But when a mobile phone went off during a New York Philharmonic performance the conductor saw red, stopping the orchestra in its tracks.
Orchestra music director Alan Gilbert was so appalled by the continuing distraction during one of the most poignant parts of the performance that he brought the musicians to a standstill.

The phone’s 'marimba' ring-tone went off from a front row seat of New York's Avery Fisher Hall during Tuesday night's performance, according to eyewitnesses.
The untimely interruption happened during the final and most moving bars of Mahler's Ninth symphony, just 13 bars before the beginning of the last page of the score, blogger Michael Jo reported.
Jo wrote on his blog thousandfold echo: ‘As Alan Gilbert turned to the first violins and the sound grew ever more hushed and veiled, the unmistakable chimes of the iPhone Marimba ringtone resounded loud and clear’. In full flow: Mr Gilbert conducting the New York Philharmonic. The phone went off in the front row during the final and most moving bars of Mahler's Ninth symphony

In an almost unprecedented measure, an obviously annoyed Mr Gilbert cut the orchestra.


He then turned around on the podium to face the offender, music student Kyra Sims told the superconductor blog.


  • Kevin Spacey won praise last month when he launched an attack on a cell phone user at a theatre in Sydney, all the while remaining in character as Richard III. 'Tell them we're busy', he bellowed at the unfortunate offender.
  • In June 2011 tennis star Caroline Wozniacki was serving for match point against Alizé Cornet in the Swedish Open when her opponent’s cell phone rang. The offender went on to lose the match.
  • Last year American idol runner-up Adam Lambert interrupted a performance to lash out at a female fan in the front row who took a call while he was trying to record an acoustic song. 'You're not watching TV', he said,
  • Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig were forced to stop midway during a 2009 Broadway performance of A Steady Rain to beg the owner to turn it off.

During a pause of several minutes the music director asked 'Are you finished?' When the culprit didn’t reply he said: ‘Fine, we'll wait.'
Some furious members of the audience called out for punishment: 'Thousand dollar fine, Get out!' and 'Kick him out! we all heard'

When the ringing eventually stopped Mr Gilbert asked the man if he had turned off the phone. The man indicated that it wouldn't go off again.

Addressing the audience the conductor said: '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.'

Mahler Ninth is the composer’s final completed symphony, the last movement of which is a measured contemplation on death that ultimately falls silent.

The composer’s work has special meaning to the New York Philharmonic which Mahler conducted during the final years of his life.

Read more:[/QUOTE]

a video of the piece below....if you want to go directly to the approximate part when the cell phone went off abou 7:30 of this clip.



Jun 3, 2007
Sometimes when a cell phone goes off in the movies I seriously contemplate punching the person square in the face. It is SO IRRITATING!


Sep 5, 2007
The guy with the phone should be kicked out AND pay a fine.

I was at the ballet (swan lake) and a guy actually took multiple calls and was merrily chatting, while the rest of the theater was trying to watch the performance. I think he was kicked out at some point. They used to search bags and not allow cell phones in the particular venue, but apparently not anymore...

'Tell them we're busy'
Kevin Spacey rocks!


Sep 22, 2006
I think that consequences for things like this ought to be clearly posted and followed through with. There ought to be fines and ejection from the venue (and possibly being barred from that location for a period of time). It is ridiculous that people don't have enough common sense to silence their technology for special occasions. If a person NEEDS to be available to take a call, perhaps a visit to the Philharmonic ought to be postponed.