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#1822634 - 01/11/12 09:57 AM Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil  
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Andromaque Offline
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A friend of mine just alerted me to this blog about an incident at Avery Fisher Hall last night.
Apparently someone's cell phone rang during the last bars of Mahler's ninth, leading to a frustrated outcry by Alan Gilbert. He stopped the orchestra and addressed the offender, putting him on the spot for several minutes, and apparently, getting the crowds to engage in some hectoring, before he resumed the playing.
The blogger at Superconductor describes the event in delicious detail, New York style.

Excerpt:

"Mr. Gilbert was visibly annoyed by the persistent ring-tone, so much that he quietly cut the orchestra," the concert-goer reports. She related 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.

"Fine, we'll wait," Mr. Gilbert said.

The Avery Fisher Hall audience, ripped in an untimely fashion from Mahler's complicated sound-world, reacted with "seething rage." Someone shouted "Thousand dollar fine."

This was followed by cries of 'Get out!' and 'Kick him out!.' Some people started clapping rhythmically but the hall was quieted down. House security did not intervene or remove the offender.

The ringing stopped. "Did you turn it off?" Mr. Gilbert asked.

The man nodded.

"It won't go off again?"

The man shook his head.

Before resuming, Mr. Gilbert addressed the audience. He 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." The audience cheered.

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#1822638 - 01/11/12 10:10 AM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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Minaku Offline
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Harsh. But seriously, how hard is it to check your phone to make sure it is off when the stage manager politely asks you to?


Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina
#1822661 - 01/11/12 11:02 AM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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Unfortunately, there are some people that it just does not pay to be too nice to. The expression, "Cast not your pearls before swine," comes to mind.

Swine. Evidently, these people were also around in Biblical times.

The handsome thing for this person to do would be to write a letter to the New York Times (and the symphony) apologizing for his conduct... but it may be asking for more than we're going to get. Let future offenders be warned off, at least. If red ears mean someone is talking about you, this gentleman's ears must be hot as a stove today. As Glenda of the North said to the Wicked Witch of the West, "Be off! Before a house falls on you, too."


Clef

#1822666 - 01/11/12 11:07 AM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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Andromaque Offline
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
If red ears mean someone is talking about you, this gentleman's ears must be hot as a stove today.


Funny. The same visual occurred to me. So fifth grade!! It would be interesting to see if the cell phones will go off again at Mr. Gilbert's classroom /hall..

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#1822671 - 01/11/12 11:35 AM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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If I had been the mobile phone man, I would have beaten the conductor to a greasy stain, and napalmed the audience.

Yes, of course it's bloody irritating when mobile phones go off in performances. We all hate it. But this conductor's response was totally disproportionate. Not as disproportionate as my suggestion of mass murder, I accept, but still completely unacceptable.

I've said it before, but I don't mind saying it again: people who are so intolerant of the failings and errors of their fellow human beings that they think it's OK to hector them in public should just damned well stay at home.

I appreciate that I am in a minority, probably a minority of one, on this issue. But that's fine.

#1822676 - 01/11/12 11:45 AM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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There are always at least two viewpoints on the issue....sounds like the conductor admitted he may have taken it too far but that's probably because he had put up with it many times before.....I am married to the guy that will turn around and look at you if you are talking in a theatre.

rada

#1822689 - 01/11/12 12:13 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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I wonder what the ring-tone was?


1999 Petrof 125-111 (upright)
Casio Privia PX-330

Currently working on:
Chopin Etude op 25 #2 and op 10 #5
Schubert Op 90 #2, #3
Playing by ear and "filling out" pop tunes
#1822705 - 01/11/12 12:24 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: rada]  
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Originally Posted by rada
I am married to the guy that will turn around and look at you if you are talking in a theatre.

rada


My wife is married to that same guy.........



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#1822715 - 01/11/12 12:34 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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I don't support the death penalty per se but, if I did...


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#1822716 - 01/11/12 12:34 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Carey]  
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Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by rada
I am married to the guy that will turn around and look at you if you are talking in a theatre.

rada


My wife is married to that same guy.........



Well, I'm the female version of the guy your wife's married to. Hahaha!

The last time I saw Gergiev and the Kirov, a couple sitting beside us wouldn't shut up during the opening bars of Shost 1 so I shushed them and gave them an evil stare. They stayed quiet after that! I mean, if you'd paid so much money why would you talk (LOUDLY at that, not even whispering!)

But anyway. I can't believe he actually stopped the concert. That's unbelievable - couldn't the guy just turn it off quickly? I've had people's phones go off during my playing, and yes while it's annoying for 3-4 seconds, it's usually forgotten about 20 seconds after that.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1822721 - 01/11/12 12:36 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
Mr. Gilbert was visibly annoyed by the persistent ring-tone, ...

He said: "I apologize ... But this was so egregious that I could not allow it."

I would like to know how long the man let his phone ring before he turned it off. The quote makes it seem like it was ringing for many seconds. He should not have had his phone on in the first place - there are usually announcements before the concert starts asking you to turn off your devices - but people do make mistakes and if he immediately turned off the ringing then I would say that there was an overreaction. If he was letting it ring through to voice mail then perhaps the reaction was justified.

#1822725 - 01/11/12 12:38 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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I was at a performance of the St. Mathew Passion at Roy Thompson Hall some years ago and there was a woman in the row behind me who was banging her (giant, diamond encrusted) ring arrhythmically and out of time, on her arm rest. Her husband was beside her, head back and snoring.


Justin
-------
Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780
#1822743 - 01/11/12 01:08 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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"If I had been the mobile phone man..."

Kevin, you would never be that guy... the guy that let his phone ring on for two long minutes. Even as many as three or four rings would have simply been disregarded--- just as you say, chalked up to the errors and failings. He must have been thinking (I can only guess), 'If I keep still, maybe they'll think it's someone else's phone.'

If this is not exactly the strategy of the ostrich which buries its head in the sand, hoping to hide from danger, it's at least a cousin. Frankly, I have always suspected this to be a slander on ostriches, since even an ostrich-sized brain couldn't be that stupid.

Your compassion for the offender is admirable, but let the punishment fit the crime. I thought it did, and unlike the death penalty, it was actually a deterrent.

I have my own mental picture. The front-of-the-house manager makes his way to the gentleman's seat. "May I see your ticket, sir?" The ticket is given; the manager glances at it briefly, then tears it to confetti. He takes the swinish patron by the ear and escorts him to the exit.


Clef

#1822753 - 01/11/12 01:20 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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Music is nothing more than painting with sound on a canvas of silent time.

To insert noise gratuitously in a music venue where people are paying a lot for perfect performances it like taking an ax to a Leonardo canvas.

I don't blame Gilbert a bit. And yes, my wife is also married to a guy who shushes people at the theater. In fact, I won't even go to movie theaters any more because the audiences are so rude.

Last edited by ClsscLib; 01/11/12 01:21 PM.

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#1822754 - 01/11/12 01:23 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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I've long had the impression that a concert is where people in the last stages of tuberculosis go to listen (and contribute) to beautiful music before they pass on.


1999 Petrof 125-111 (upright)
Casio Privia PX-330

Currently working on:
Chopin Etude op 25 #2 and op 10 #5
Schubert Op 90 #2, #3
Playing by ear and "filling out" pop tunes
#1822766 - 01/11/12 01:39 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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>But this conductor's response was totally disproportionate.

I don't think so. In the past it might have been normal to even talk during the performance. But these days people expect a top performance competing with a recording.

Maybe they should remove people making lots of noise or that refused to turn off their phone immediately?


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#1822768 - 01/11/12 01:40 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
Unfortunately, there are some people that it just does not pay to be too nice to. The expression, "Cast not your pearls before swine," comes to mind.

Swine. Evidently, these people were also around in Biblical times.

The handsome thing for this person to do would be to write a letter to the New York Times (and the symphony) apologizing for his conduct... but it may be asking for more than we're going to get. Let future offenders be warned off, at least. If red ears mean someone is talking about you, this gentleman's ears must be hot as a stove today. As Glenda of the North said to the Wicked Witch of the West, "Be off! Before a house falls on you, too."


Jackie Mason's great, great, great, great, great (you get the idea) grandfather is doing his shtick before an appreciative audience. Out of nowhere the bush behind him starts burning.

Without missing a beat the comic says, Hey, Moses, is that for you?



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#1822777 - 01/11/12 01:57 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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The symphony should apply for a federal grant to purchase from a defense contractor some jamming devices for the hall. No signal, no ringing! Problem solved!


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#1822779 - 01/11/12 02:01 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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That would solve the phones but the more real problem is people making unwanted noise. How about alarm clocks, calendar reminder beeps, low battery alarms and whatever you can think of?


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#1822782 - 01/11/12 02:02 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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I don't normally post here but the title caught my attention and I would like to mention two incidents that I've seen.

One was about cell phone. Someone's phone rang during a symphony concert, and the guy simply ignored it. It rang for a long time, drew lots of turned heads, and someone in the audience eventually shouted "turn the **** thing off!", and the guy turned it off. Was he going to let it ring to the voice message? Or was he thinking that if he pretended that nothing happened that others wouldn't be able to tell whose phone was ringing?

The other was about coughing. We watched the performance of a famous Japanese drum group a while ago, truly exciting. Except that the woman sitting right next to me coughed through the entire performance. There was a bout of cough every minute or so, always when the drummers were playing (so the sound of the cough was covered by the drums), and each time it seemed that the woman was about to cough her lungs out----violent, deep, long-lasting cough. I was seriously worried that whatever she had would get passed on to me or my kids.

Yes, people make mistakes. But sometimes they choose to be inconsiderate.

#1822788 - 01/11/12 02:26 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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I have taken to carrying candies to concerts which I hand out to someone coughing near me.


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#1822805 - 01/11/12 03:00 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: BDB]  
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Originally Posted by BDB
I have taken to carrying candies to concerts which I hand out to someone coughing near me.

Fine, as long as they don't have to be unwrapped!

#1822810 - 01/11/12 03:06 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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Would you rather have someone unwrap a candy or cough through a piece?


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#1822818 - 01/11/12 03:34 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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I find it rude and disrespectful when someone leaves their cell phone on during a performance piece. Also, if one is having a coughing fit, why not get up and leave, then return when its under control. Why subject the audience and the conductor to this disruption?


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#1822874 - 01/11/12 05:44 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: rada]  
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Originally Posted by rada
... I am married to the guy that will turn around and look at you if you are talking in a theatre.
rada

I am not sure quite how to interpret that. I do not think twice about turning to look at people who are talking during a performance. Glaring at them, in fact. Or motioning people who are reading or sending texts to turn their phone OFF.

#1822877 - 01/11/12 05:48 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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My impression is that the vast majority of people attending New York Philharmonic concerts are reasonably well behaved and would not knowingly create a disturbance for others. The situation described by Andromaque is rare. To me, the key problem is that lesser disturbances such as turning pages in a program or unwrapping a candy can create a disturbance to others, particularly if it occurs during quiet passages. Low levels of ambient noise which might be OK when watching a movie or listening to a a lecture might be totally unsuitable for a classical music performance. Not all of the audience members are attuned to this. If they were, I believe that the noise issue would decrease; the vast majority of people attending such concerts do not want to create disturbances for others. Therefore, I would be in favor of better education so that audiences are aware of the disturbances that even low levels of ambient noise can create. If programs contained a paragraph indicating this, that would be a step in the right direction.

#1822880 - 01/11/12 05:59 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
I thought it did, and unlike the death penalty, it was actually a deterrent.


If he were dead, he would never do it again. Pretty good deterrent if you ask me.

#1822891 - 01/11/12 06:17 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Andromaque]  
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#1822916 - 01/11/12 07:10 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: Elena-Margarita]  
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Originally Posted by topi
I find it rude and disrespectful when someone leaves their cell phone on during a performance piece. Also, if one is having a coughing fit, why not get up and leave, then return when its under control. Why subject the audience and the conductor to this disruption?


Then the conductor might stop the concert and say "How dare you leave? How disrespectful! I refuse to play here anymore" or one of the audience members might say "How dare you block my view? How dare you leave when your seat is not the aisle seat? You have to inconvenience 20 others to get out of here and then you want to come back? Not happening!" What does one do then? Just curious.. I'm not saying I like people coughing or whispering, I hate that too. However, I just don't see any reasonable solution for things like coughing (when its involuntary. I know some people here are talented and can suppress coughs, they probably can suppress fevers too.. I can't).



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#1822917 - 01/11/12 07:10 PM Re: Public Humiliation for a ringing cell phone owner at N YPhil [Re: David-G]  
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Originally Posted by David-G
Originally Posted by rada
... I am married to the guy that will turn around and look at you if you are talking in a theatre.
rada

I am not sure quite how to interpret that. I do not think twice about turning to look at people who are talking during a performance. Glaring at them, in fact. Or motioning people who are reading or sending texts to turn their phone OFF.


Some (clueless?) people have no idea how distracting - in a darkened theatre or concert hall - the lit blue screen from a silent cell phone can be. Whenever it catches the corner of my eye, I, alas! am constantly drawn to it and my concentration on and enjoyment of the music are ruined.

Regards,


BruceD
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