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Marimba Interrupts Mahler’s 9 At Lincoln Center


NEW YORK, NY - The New York Philharmonic Orchestra (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Swatch Group)

Old world beauty took a stand against new technology Tuesday night. During a performance of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Lincoln Center, Music Director Alan Gilbert stopped the show when a cell phone in the front row interrupted Gustav Mahler’s 9th Symphony at it’s most climactic moment.

Witnesses say the offending cell phone had been ringing what appeared to be an alarm of some type, non-stop, for at least 4 minutes when the orchestra came to the point in the distinctive score where music and silence are “almost indistinguishable”.

With dignity, Maestro Gilbert quietly dropped his hands, signaling the orchestra to stop playing.

NEW YORK - New York Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert(right) conducts the orchestra at the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

The only sound in the room was the “Marimba” ringtone, echoing through the world-famous hall.

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He then turned his attention on the cell phone offender in the front row and asked, “Are you finished?”.

When no answer came, Gilbert said, “Fine. We’ll wait.”, set his baton on the music stand and waited.

Audience members say it was then, finally, that the man reached into his pocket and turned off the phone. With which Gilbert turned to the audience, apologized for the interruption, picked up his baton and continued the piece.

Gilbert got a standing ovation.

As for the man with the cell phone? He was identified by his seat number and contacted by an official with the orchestra on Wednesday. He was asked to never do it again. As a 20-year subscriber to the philharmonic, “Patron X”, as officials are calling him, said

“I hope the people at that performance and members of the orchestra can certainly forgive me for this whole event. I apologize to the whole audience.”

He also apologized, by phone (a land line), to Gilbert, for disturbing his performance.

For the millions of us who weren’t there, a YouTube subscriber merged both the ringtone and the final movement of Mahlers 9, for the rest of us.



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