Piano Street Magazine

Samsung Smashes Haydn in Gothenburg

November 2nd, 2013 in Piano News by | 10 comments

At a concert in Gothenburg Concert Hall October 23, 2013, pianist and conductor Christian Zacharias stopped playing in the middle of Haydn’s D major Piano Concerto, interrupted by an audience member’s cell phone ringing for the second time the same concert. At the end of a phrase in the first movement, Zacharias abruptly stops, looks back and says, “Don’t answer. Let it ring.” After some moments of awkward silence, he resumes the performance.

Måns Pär Fogelberg of GSOPlay, which films Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra´s concerts, said the offender hasn’t yet come forward. “As far as we know, no one stepped up afterwards and claimed the ownership of either of the two phones that went off during the concert,” says Fogelberg.

In an after-interview Christian Zacharias commented:

“Sometimes it´s just too much… we prepare all this and the least we can do to honor it is listening and being there in silence…”

The incident was filmed and immediately produced for a three-minute video that was widely disseminated on YouTube counting more than 50,000 views as of the following Friday morning:

Haydn killed by cell phone – part 2 – the encore:

Rondo in D major by Mozart

Read more about performances disrupted by phones:
Ringing cellphone disrupts New York Philharmonic performance
Pianist Krystian Zimerman storms out over phone recording

For more information about this topic, use the search form below!


  • John Valentin says:

    It is so hard to realize how rude, careless some people can be to create such a distraction at a concert. Seems that good manners are quickly disappearing from adult behavior. A really bad example. I would have walked out of the stage and have the person taken out of the music hall to set an example that such behavior would not be tolerated.

  • Mark H says:

    I’m not sure what the solution to this problem should be. On the one hand, it is understandable that someone could forget to silence their phone. On the other hand, most performance halls make an announcement to silence phones before the performance begins. In that case, there really is no excuse. It would not be over the top to have them escorted out at that point.

    I think people have become careless and narcissistic with technology, almost as if the rules don’t apply to them. It really can be discouraging, to say the least – especially when it disrupts not only the audience, but the performers themselves, as in this example.

  • Tom Edwards says:

    During the second world war, musicians played at the concentration camps while the killing and the dying was going on – not good – not bad. But a musician’s job is to do just that to play whether some has a heart attack or the Titanic is sinking. I am only a beginner piano player hoping to learn classical music but sowhat if a cell phone goes off – keep playing – if a piano player plays a wrong note does he stop and apologize – no – he tries to cover the mistake or ignores it.

    Too much attitude is not good for classical music.


    if it is about recording then simply do it without an audience.

  • William Ballough says:

    A judge will eject a person from the courtroom if that occurs, and if it is council’s phone, he is looking at a contempt of court charge, I take music as serious as a court proceeding, The person should have been removed.

  • Chrissie Roberts says:

    Cell phones are a nuisance as you can’t seem to escape them and to have a cell phone ring in the middle of a concert is bad manners and unfortunately that is the way of the world these days. I have a cell phone and I leave it switched off in my handbag all the time. I only make calls in emergencies and I’d never dream of taking one to a concert. I don’t blame the musicians/conductors stopping the performance and the more its done then people might get the message it is not acceptable. I find it intolerable that everywhere I go there is someone nattering on their cell phone even concerning private matters that I don’t really want to hear about. My husband has his switched on all the time but he has the courtesy to switch it off when we visit places that it is not desirable to have a cell phone switched on. If an individual needs their phone in a concert perhaps he should not attend the concert as its obvious that the person values his electronic gizmo more than the pleasure of listening to good music.

  • brahm says:

    Mr Edwards has no education it seems. Playing a wrong note is not like a ringing phone. We do not come to a concert to listen to somebodies phone after all. Mr Edwards is ignorant who NEVER should attend a classical concert of any kind.

  • David Deihl says:

    A classical concert is not like a rock concert or music you clap in rythmn to. It requires a cerebral concentration to be appreciated properly and any extraneous noise jars that concentration and the listener. Eggheads… Yes. But the elevating enlightened experience that those who are lucky enough to be able to experience it is a real “high.” Any audience member who is insensitive enough to leave their phone on after an announcement should be “punished” be being escorted out of the hall. They’re probably there because their spouse dragged them there anyway.

  • A says:

    I’ve been in some concerts where the cell phones had interrupted the performance, or latening the start of it. I know how much the phones could bother the performers(cuz I’d experienced the interruption as a “performer”), well but…why Samsung? A PHONE CALL did interrupt, not the COMPANY; I’m rather carefully ask, isn’t the title of this writing seems little emotional to S? Well writer or the system manager would know I am Korean, by the IP adress which have left on the server; but please don’t mind I’m Korean, anyway, …I was just surprised by that.

  • A says:

    Well, I’ve found another title of the article : “Ringing cellphone disrupts New York Philharmonic performance”. I think the article’s title should be like this, or it seems to contain a tilted view….well I’m a student and it might be somewhat silly or strange to see this kind of comment, but I think I should say this.

  • Chana Mark says:

    I feel very bad for the musicians. Everything that the pianist said was true. When we are practicing for a performance we must practice 8 hours a day for months. Finally the moment arrives and it is that very experience of exquisite “being present” to take in the musical experience that we worked for. To have it so crassly destroyed is very hard.

  • Write a reply or comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *