Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Alan Gilbert responds to the Mahler phone incident

Alex Ross linked to Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert's response to last night's Mahler incident in the New York Times' ArtsBeat blog. Gilbert was as astonished by the audacity of the offending patron as the rest of the audience. The Times also notes that the ushers should have stepped in to get the people involved to silence the phone, but did not.

The ushers do not answer directly to orchestra management, and Mr. Gilbert said no ushers were in sight at the time of the ringing. “I heard this morning that ushers in the hall claimed they didn’t hear it, which sounds ridiculous to me,” he said. “Everybody could hear it.”

I almost always sit in the second tier center of Avery Fisher Hall, which gives me a view of the entire front of the hall. I never see ushers near the front of the stage. If the ushers stand inside the hall, they must be at the back. So I can understand why they might not have heard anything if they weren't in the hall itself, but the hallway outside. But that defeats the purpose of having ushers in the first place. I'll look again on Friday night for some floor-level ushers.

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