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Silence your phone: a cautionary tale from the New York Philharmonic

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One unlucky patron at the New York Philharmonic couldn't keep his alarm silent, and felt the wrath of the internet for it.


When it comes to forgetting to turn off or silence your cellphone, no one's blameless. For most of us, the moment comes when our phones ring during dinner or a meeting, but for one unlucky audience member at the New York Philharmonic, it wasn't quite so innocuous. During the somber, beautiful end to Mahler's Symphony No. 9, the man The New York Times calls "Patron X" was panicked when he heard his phone's alarm go off. Or, rather, he should have been panicked — the man didn't know it was his phone (it was a brand new iPhone), and let the marimba alarm go off for minutes before he figured out it was his. Conductor Alan Gilbert stopped the orchestra to wait, and the crowd yelled and booed, but the vitriol didn't end there: people took to YouTube and Twitter to rail on Patron X, wondering "what have we gone to in the world" and recreating what it might have sounded like. To his credit, Patron X was mortified by the incident, describing in his interview with the Times how sorry he was and later apologizing to Gilbert personally. But lesson learned: turn your phone off, break it, or leave it at home, lest you risk interrupting Mahler and incurring the wrath of the web.