In what could only be described as a Seinfeldian moment of schadenfreude, Philharmonic music conductor Alan Gilbert stopped Tuesday’s performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony during the emotionally-taut ending because some guy in the front row wouldn’t turn off his cell phone.
When the ringing didn’t cease and all that could be heard in Avery Fisher Hall was the echoing brrrrinng of some schmuck’s alarm (Mr. Gilbert told The New York Times he believed it to be an alarm due to the fact that the noise wouldn’t stop,) the music virtuoso pinpointed the location of the sound to about two individuals sitting near the front row.
“They were staring at me resolutely,” he said of the couple. Eventually, the man put his hand in his pocket and the ringing stopped. “It was so weird,” Mr. Gilbert said. “Did he think he could just bite his lip and soldier through?”
The conductor said he asked the man if he was sure the device was quieted. “Then he nodded his head,” Mr. Gilbert said.
The Times goes on to mention that the man could be fined up to $1,000 for not listening to recorded preview of actor Alec Baldwin, who encourages audiences to turn off their phones. Because unlike airplanes, orchestras are no place for cell phones.