Ringing Phone Halts Symphony Performance

Some people apparently can’t live without their smart phones. This was recently proven by an elderly gentlemen whose phone rang and rang . . . and rang, forcing the conductor to halt a performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall earlier this month.

Apologizing to 2,700 concertgoers, music director and conductor Alan Gilbert explained: “Usually, when these things occur, we ignore them. But this is such an egregious disturbance that I am forced to stop.”

It seems the ringing phone, set to play a Marimba ringtone, was competing with a particularly quiet moment in the emotional 82-minute Mahler work. The phone’s owner is said to have sheepishly turned off his phone as fellow concertgoers shouted, “Throw him out!”

Now cell phones are a wonderful convenience, helping to keep us connected with loved ones, friends and colleagues. But as the symphony guest’s behavior so egregiously demonstrated, there are times — like at a performance or when sharing a meal with others — when a cell phone should be turned off so that we can tune in to the people and events that are important to us.

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