How to outrage hundreds of New Yorkers: Let your cell phone go off during the New York Philharmonic

Technology News Blog

We all know the iPhone's classic marimba ringtone. Whenever you hear it in a crowded venue, you can see a dozen people scrambling to check their phones and see if it's theirs. But what's one place you should never hear that or any other ringtone? At a classical music concert! Unfortunately, a patron at the New York Philharmonic obviously hadn't read our helpful guide to getting started with a new iPhone, and inadvertently interrupted a performance of Mahler's 9th Symphony.

According to the New York Times, the man is a regular concert-goer who was identified by his front-row seat. He has asked to remain anonymous, presumably to protect what's left of his pride, and is referred to as Patron X. Apparently, Patron X recently switched out his company BlackBerry for a new iPhone, which he wasn't very comfortable using yet. As any good concert-goer should do, he turned the ringer off at the beginning of the performance, so he was as shocked as anyone to discover that it was his phone ringing during the quietest, most emotional part of the piece. It wasn't until after the show that his wife discovered that somehow an alarm had been set on the phone, and the alarm sounds even if the phone itself is set to silent.

What set the rest of the concert-goers ire to a boil wasn't just that a cell phone went off during a performance — sadly a relatively common occurrence despite frequent instructions to silence such devices — but that it kept ringing for almost five minutes, starting during a more boisterous part of the symphony and continuing into a section that is much more quiet and contemplative. The conductor, Alan Gilbert, actually took the nearly unprecedented action of stopping the performance to call out the offender, who was hard to miss since he was sitting in the front row. The audience broke out into applause for his reaction.

Speculation has been rampant as to why the man didn't silence the phone immediately after the alarm went off (many assumed he'd fallen asleep), but according to the New York Times, at first he simply didn't believe it was his phone, since he thought he had silenced it. And when he realized his mistake, he was utterly mortified. Patron X has since apologized to Gilbert, the New York Philharmonic, and the other patrons.

[Image credit: Albert Yau]

This article was written by Katherine Gray and originally appeared on Tecca

More from Tecca: