Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats."
Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, since 2007. All written content © 2014 by Paul Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Return of 'Patron X'

A letter to the readers, and some thanks.
Mysterious blogger Mr. X, now visiting the enchanted Island.
Image of Homer Simpson, © 2000 20th Century Fox/Gracie Films.

It has been 48 hours since I decided to write a story about New York Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert's decision to stop the fourth movement of Mahler's Ninth Symphony at Tuesday night's concert.

The concert was stopped because of a persistent, ringing iPhone only a few rows away from Mr. Gilbert. (The owner of the phone is a 20-year Philharmonic subscriber, identified only as "Patron X." The phone buzzed its merry "marimba" tune against the swelling textures of Mahler's Ninth, the last work that the composer would live to complete. The conductor stopped the concert until the patron turned his offending instrument off.

Our coverage of the story appears here.

Also recommended: a New York Times interview with Patron X, written by Daniel J. Wakin.

It's been 48 hours since I saw the Facebook post of my friend Kyra Sims, Manhattan School of Music student and horn player. I asked her for an interview very late at night on Facebook chat, and she was willing to give me some excellent details on the events of the concert, including knowledge of the ring-tone. So thanks, Kyra.

Since then, Ms. Sims has been interviewed by Fox News as well. (Other particulars on the story came from Michael Jo's excellent account, available on his site: Thousandfold Echo.)

Since then, (according to the Times report), Patron X "has not slept in two days."

In those two days, the traffic on this blog went absolutely ballistic. Readers have been coming to Superconductor from the New York Times, the Baltimore Sun and network news sites owned by NBC and CBS. Yahoo, Boing Boing, The Awl and Gothamist have all covered the story, alongside my colleagues at the Times, WQXR and National Public Radio. Accounts of the story have spread to Italy and Australia.

If you are one of these new readers who has come to this site following this story, I would like to take a moment to thank you for visiting this site, and to hope that you'll stay for a daily mix of concert reviews, opera coverage, and occasional works of fiction involving the music industry. This blog is about to celebrate its fifth year (next month) and I hope you stay on to read all about it. 


All best, and welcome to Superconductor.

Paul J. Pelkonen, Editor.
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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.