Despite all the reporting on that iPhone ring tone shut that down a New York Philharmonic performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, nagging questions remained.
Why did it take the phone's owner so long to silence the offending marimba? It seemed especially unlikely behavior coming from a concertgoer sitting in an expensive front-row seat. Was he a boor? Was he hard of hearing?
A New York Times reporter got to the bottom of it by securing an interview with the man identified only as "Patron X." You can read it here.
It turned out that the cellphone owner did not realize it was his phone making the sound to begin with because he had turned off the iPhone ringer, the Times reported. Patron X says he swapped his Blackberry for the iPhone just a day earlier and didn't realize that the alarm was set and would sound even if the ringer was silenced for incoming calls.
Patron X was mortified by the idea that he disrupted the performance, according to the Times. He said that he had been irritated many times in the past by disruptions during performances--coughing, inappropriate applause, and ringing cell phones.
"Then God, there was I. Holy smokes," he told the paper. "It's horrible. Horrible."
If there is a silver lining, it is that Patron X's experience offers a valuable lesson that may benefit other iPhone-wielding concertgoers and conductors: Just turning off the ringer does not ensure that the device will remain silent.
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