NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It certainly wasn’t music to the ears of New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert.

Tuesday night’s New York Philharmonic performance of the Mahler Ninth was cut short by Gilbert, according to a report on the blog, Superconductor.

According to the article, an iPhone went off repeatedly in the front rows during the fourth movement of Mahler’s final completed symphony at Avery Fisher Hall.

“Mr. Gilbert was visibly annoyed by the persistent ring-tone, so much that he quietly cut the orchestra,” a concert-goer and music student Kyra Sims, reports. She explained to Superconductor how the orchestra’s music director turned on the podium towards the offender. The pause lasted a good “three or four minutes. It might have been two. It seemed long.”

Mr. Gilbert asked the man, sitting in front of the concert-master: “Are you finished?” The man didn’t respond, according to Sims.

“Fine, we’ll wait,” Mr. Gilbert said, according to the report.

As you can imagine, audience members weren’t happy. Someone shouted, “Thousand dollar fine,” followed by “Kick Him Out,” Sims said.

House security did not intervene or remove the offender. After the ringing stopped, Gilbert is said to have asked the man if he turned off his phone.

The man nodded and shook his head when asked if it would not go off again.

Gilbert then apologized to the audience and explained that he normally ignores such disturbances, but this one was so egregious, he couldn’t.

He then said the three words that were music to the audience’s ears: “We’ll start again.”

Should the iPhone offender have been removed? Fined? Sound Off below

Comments (42)
  1. jh says:

    I blame A.J.Burnett…

  2. Horrified says:

    I was watching the Hartford Symphony perform at Yale for a school age audience, and a violinist’s phone went off during the performance ! She deftly reached under her seat to turn it off but HOW EMBARRASSING ! I wonder if she is still with the symphony.

  3. horrified says:

    I was watching the Hartford Symphony perform at Yale for a school age audience, and a violinist’s phone went off during the performance ! She deftly reached under her seat to turn it off but HOW EMBARASSING ! I wonder if she is still with the symphony.

  4. Doug Brandt says:

    I am totally on board with Gilbert. Years ago at the Ravinia Festival, north of Chicago, We were listening to the Mahler Second. In the final movement the chorus finally enters, as quietly as possible. Unfortunately, the railroad runs right through the park, and even though the trains turn off their engines and coast through Ravinia, the rattling of the train covered one of the most beautiful entrances in the choral literature. James Levine put down his baton, turned around to face us, waited until the train was out of earshot, turned back around, and restarted the movement. We ALL appreciated it.



  6. None Of Your Business says:

    Idiot-brains and modern technology. Dreadful combination.

  7. hjnytoni says:

    I found the story as reported on the early show to be one of the most confusing things I have ever watched. As i was watching, the thoughts running through my head “the conductor’s phone went off? the conducgtor was a guest conductor from Russia? The music was interrupted, the conductor stopped it? patrons were looking and pointing ” When the story ended I still wasn’t sure what had happened – who did what, to whom.

  8. Lea says:

    The thing about an iPhone alarm is that the switch on the left will turn off the ringer, but not the alarm tones. I can understand getting flustered when you know you turned off the sound with the switch, and still have it make all that noise. His non-reaction could’ve been a case of “I turned off my phone, that couldn’t be mine.” Best case scenario would’ve been for the phone to be turned off completely, or make sure no alarms are set to ring.

  9. JackinMeHoff says:

    Castrate him

  10. Katrina Douglas says:

    He should have been asked to come outside, then they should have shot him!

  11. iPhone says:

    It could have been any phone!

  12. Meh says:

    I think the conductor should have walked over to the offender, grabbed his phone, and stomped on it until it was in pieces before having him thrown out on his ass. You waste the time of 2500 people who have each spent more on tickets than your piece of crap phone is worth, you suffer the consequences. Unbelievable.

  13. mikehere says:

    handled well, but the offender ought to be barred from the concert hall for a number of years. if a season ticket holder, his rights should be revoked without any refund.

  14. LAcellist says:

    From the reports, it wasn’t a ringtone, it was an alarm that kept going off for several minutes. The owner made no attempt to turn it off and it kept ringing loudly over the music. One ring and an obvious, desperate attempt by the owner to shut it off is annoying but excusable. To simply leave it ringing and disrupt the entire concert is downright rude. The ushers should have confiscated the phone.

  15. Wayne Bergeron says:

    Throwing this person out would be more of a distraction than the cell phone ring itself. Security, an argument, big scene…the conductor handled this beautifully. I’m sure this will happen again, but not by this guy:)

  16. Kris says:

    Since when is reporting on a blog entry considered journalism? CBS New York should have gone to the source to verify what happened.

    That said, if it’s true, Alan Gilbert deserves a medal.

    1. Double-R says:

      I think he does. From how the situation is depicted, he showed a lot of restraint.

    2. Tony Aiello says:

      Please watch CBS2 at 6 to hear the story straight from the Maestro’s mouth.

  17. Double-R says:

    When I went to John Jay College, I took a music appreciation class and, a part of the extra credit assignments – which I definitely took advantage of – was to go to the CUNY Grad Center on Saturday nights to see the concerts that they would show. Its kind of a common courtesy – even if you’re not told beforehand – to make sure your phone s turned off before you even go into the auditorium. At least that way you’re not going to forget. The conductor definitely did the right thing in this case. One ring? Maybe. After several times? That is definitely egregious. That plus, there are instruction manuals for these sort of things. The whole thing of not knowing how to turn the damn thing off really doesn’t fly with me.

  18. Rich says:

    The story says it was an iPhone,which makes it particularly egregious. An iPhone has a switch on the left side to put it into vibrate-only (i.e., SILENT) mode. You don’t have to turn it on, unlock it, go through any menus, whatever; you just flip the switch. It’s utterly inexcusable to fail to do so.

  19. chas says:

    If he accidentally forgot to turn it off, after the first time it rang YOU TURN IT OFF so that it doesn’t ring again. Don’t people have lives? People HAVE to have their phones 24-7. What ever happen to just having a phone at home. You leave the house, people will just have to leave messages for you to return when you get home!

  20. Scott says:

    The person who kept calling is the one that should be removed. Removed from society. What kind of nut keeps calling a person over and over and over and over and over and over again ? If it was an emergency and you get no answer the first time move on to someone else. And if it was not an emergency, then that person has mental issues. I am sure the phone guy didn;t mean to do it. Anyone who buys tickets to this type of event has more class than that. Gilbert should have helped the guy answer the phone and then said to the caller “get yourslef to a mental hospital, fast” !

  21. Punk is a savage says:

    YO, Who gawt da rope? Hang this savage.

  22. Lew says:

    I’m a musician I’m sure it was an accident and he was totally flustered to the point of not being able to turn it off. I think the conductor did exactly the right thing by stopping when it was too distracting, and I think the offender’s embarrassment was a hard lesson.. Humans make mistakes. It was very nice of the conductor not to remove him.

    1. Sean says:

      I agree completely. Well handled.

    2. Ludwig says:

      I completely agree. The mortifying embarrassment in front of the entire audience was far better than throwing the person out. He’ll definitely remember that feeling for the rest of his life.



  23. Andreas G says:

    unfortunately JM’s 1% comment is not far off the mark, The reason the hall personnel did nothing was they were cowed by the big bucks the offender no doubt paid for the front row. Money ruled the day.

  24. Fatima says:

    He should have been escorted out for sure. People pay to listen to music and not to an iPhone ring tone. Very disrespectful indeed.

  25. mrstag says:

    Yes, he should of been thrown out by the security guards and fined. Mr. Gilbert was very kind and gracious better than I would of been.

    1. Sean says:

      Fined? Well, fine. Explain how that would be accomplished.

  26. Doug Wong says:

    He should have been thrown out by security, how rude!

  27. Joel Tyler Burcham says:

    I think he should have been escorted out, without Maestro Gilbert needing to stop the performance. In my opinion, either ushers or security should intervene with these disturbances, taking initiative to first ask the patron to silence the phone. If that doesn’t work escort him/her, so the performers can DO THEIR JOB!

  28. Sydelle Houston says:

    Perhaps he didn’t know how to put it on vibrate, but I’m sure he knew he needed to turn the thing off.

  29. mj says:

    gee anyone wanna bet if the iphone guy was a 1% or not ?. totally self absorbed ,oblivious and obnoxious

  30. Larry Mayer says:

    Inexcusable either for himself or anyone with him to ensure he did so. When my wife and I or other family and friends attend a show movie or the like, we all ask each other if the devices re off.

  31. Craig Swenson says:

    I doubt he just got the phone. I think it’s a perfect example of how offensive our society has become that this person did not have the decency or common sense to take three seconds to silence the phone and ended up spoiling a good night for everyone else. In my book, Mr. Gilbert acted professionally and gave that noisemaker the best lesson in public humiliation.

  32. john says:

    Shot dead.

  33. Crooklyn Boy says:

    WOW! Score one for the arts! That jerk had it coming.

  34. tommys says:

    Unfortunately, a sign of the times.

  35. john says:

    He should have fined and escorted out… they always say at the beginning to silence you mobile devices… some people just feel theyare too important. If he was a doctoron call, dont go out

    1. uh, huh says:

      True. I’m thinking he just got the phone a didnt know how to turn it off? maybe. probably not though…

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