"Marimba" ringtone halts NY Philharmonic

The ecosystem holy grail? CBS Interactive

NEW YORK - It's the dreaded sound at any live performance: a ringing cellphone.

That's what happened Tuesday night at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall during the final movement of Gustav Mahler's Ninth Symphony by the New York Philharmonic. Maestro Alan Gilbert stopped the orchestra until the phone was silenced.

The Wall Street Journal reports that when an iPhone's distinctive "Marimba" ringtone initially went off, Gilbert turned his head to signal his displeasure. But the ringing from the first row persisted and minutes went by.

Gilbert asked that the offending noise be turned off and finally stopped the orchestra until it was. The audience gasped. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Wednesday, Gilbert claimed the ringtone ruined his concentration during the symphony's "most intense, most sublime, most emotional place."

The man who owned the cell phone tried to ignore the noise, but eventually silenced what many think was an alarm he forgot to turn off.

"I had to ask him many times," Gilbert told the Wall Street Journal. "It was bizarre. Maybe he was just so mortified that he just shut down and was paralyzed." Though the Philharmonic refused to identify the man, many said he was a regular subscriber.

Gilbert apologized to the audience for the disruption, and was greeted with applause.

The Philharmonic said it was the first time the music director had ever interrupted a performance due to a cellphone or other disruption.

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