Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Maestro Sets the Tone

Something unheard of occurred at the New York Philharmonic on January 10th. About an hour into Mahler's Ninth Symphony, an audience's cell phone loudly interrupted. It kept ringing for almost a minute. Everyone in the theater was staring in the direction that the sound was coming from. The violinists were glaring down at seats in the front row, trying to find the source of the noise. The maestro, Alan Gilbert, finally silenced the orchestra. He stopped in the middle of the show and turned around from his podium, stared at the offender, and asked the person if they were going to turn it off. People started to scream and shout at the cell phone owner. Some even stood up and demanded that he leave. The audience was furious. After the cell phone owner finally located the off button, Gilbert turned to the audience and said, "Usually, when there's a disturbance like this, it's best to ignore it," he said. "But this was so egregious that I could not allow it." The audience applauded him, and then Gilbert turned back to his orchestra and started up again.
The author of this op-ed, David Masello, thinks Alan Gilbert did a beautiful thing. Masello himself was at the performance and describes the amazing atmosphere from a first hand experience. Masello explains that Gilbert "hit all the right notes" when he decided to stop the performance and call out the cell phone owner. Masello finishes his op-ed with saying, "Mr. Gilbert's brave decision that night, to halt a performance and remedy a problem with firmness and dignity, brought new music to the Philharmonic." This event will go down in history and Gilbert will be considered a hero by many for years to come.

Click here to view the op-ed

1 comment:

  1. How rude to leave your phone on! At least put it on silence. Having the author of the article there at the performance is a strong appeal for the audience. Nice post!