A PERFORMANCE by the New York Philharmonic was brought to a halt by the conductor after a man in the front row of the audience refused to turn off his ringing mobile telephone.
The orchestra's music director, Alan Gilbert, had been conducting the final movement of Gustav Mahler's Ninth Symphony.
Mr Gilbert reportedly turned to the audience and said: "Ladies and gentlemen, I apologise for this. Usually when these things occur, we ignore them. But this is such an egregious disturbance that I am forced to stop."
He then turned to the area where the sound -- identified as an iPhone's distinctive 'Marimba' tone -- was coming from. He said: "Would you please just admit it. It's okay, just turn it off. Is it off now?"
Audience members at the Avery Fisher Hall in New York were surprised by the episode but apparently sided with the conductor. Some reportedly shouted "Get out" and "Thousand dollar fine" and pointed out the culprit.
According to the conductor, the man attempted to brazen it out, simply staring back at him and leaving the telephone ringing in his pocket.
Mr Gilbert told the 'New York Times': "It was so weird. Did he think he could just bite his lip and soldier through?"
Mr Gilbert said he would usually ignore a phone ringing but it had never happened during "the most emotionally wrought part of Mahler Nine".
An investigation is under way to determine why ushers were not able to get quickly to the source of the sound. (© Daily Telegraph, London)