Gilbert stops Mahler Ninth performance when cell phone rings

Posted on: January 11, 2012

Wednesday (1/11) on his Baltimore Sun blog Clef Notes/Drama Queens, Tim Smith writes, “Alan Gilbert is being hailed on the blogosphere after Tuesday night’s incident at Avery Fisher Hall. When a cell phone went off during the hushed, poignant moments of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, the New York Philharmonic music director stopped his orchestra and glared at the offending patron sitting down front—just as Mahler himself would have done. … An eye- and ear-witness reports that Gilbert asked the villain, ‘Are you finished?’ Hearing no response, the conductor said, ‘Fine, we’ll wait.’ By that point, the audience made its annoyance known with shouts of ‘Kick him out’ and the like, according to the witness, as well as some rhythmic clapping. The ringing finally stopped and the phone owner indicated that the device had been turned off. The conductor then addressed the audience, saying that, although it can be worse to stop a performance under such conditions, ‘this was so egregious that I could not allow it.’ Amen. Gilbert resumed the performance at a suitable point before the place where he had halted, which, I assume, allowed for a reasonable form of musical closure for the audience and players alike.”

Posted January 11, 2012