A different kind of ringtone stops Boston Symphony in mid-Stravinsky

A different kind of ringtone stops Boston Symphony in mid-Stravinsky


norman lebrecht

February 01, 2012

The Boston Symphony were hammering merrily along last week in Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring under stand-in conductor Giancarlo Guerrero Orchestra when an unexpected shrill noise brought the concert to a halt.

A fire alarm went off. The orchestra stopped. The hall was evacuated. False alarm. Here‘s one review, and here another.

Worse than the New York cellphone incident, right? Be sure to tell us more, if you were there.


  • Gene De Lisa says:

    Happened last year in Princeton too.

    The NJ Symphony’s playing is on fire http://bit.ly/og97zT

  • robert says:

    Must be something to do with that work – I was at an amateur orchestra’s performance of the Rite a few years back when the alarms went off, they continued(!) – maybe it was a burglar one… http://rmstar.blogspot.com/2008/04/to-see-it-done-at-all.html

  • CA says:

    Yes it was a flase alarm but, what if it had been for real? I’d personally rather be safe than sorry….or worse. There will be more performances of Rite, even by the BSO, at some point in the future. Annoying, yes, but think of the alternative if it had been for real.

  • Laurence Glavin says:

    I don’t believe the Orchestra was performing AT Tufts University. You’re citing a review IN Tufts University’s campus newspaper.

  • Janey says:


    I believe this was LAST Tuesday, or January 24, at Symphony Hall.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Here is the Boston Globe’s article:

    I traced it with a Google search.

  • Stephen Owades says:

    I was in the hall for the interrupted “Rite of Spring,” since the Tanglewood Festival Chorus (with which I sing) had just finished our piano rehearsal for Mendelssohn’s “Lobgesang” downstairs with Bramwell Tovey. In fact, Maestro Tovey had also joined the audience to hear the “Sacre.” The fire alarm system was triggered by some sort of faulty sensor in the adjacent building, combined with mid-programming that set off building-wide evacuation alarms. Once the automated announcement to leave was made–about half a minute after the first flashing-lights and alarm-tones–everyone (audience and orchestra) left quickly, and we were soon told that the concert would not resume.

    There was another minor alarm system fault at Thursday’s morning rehearsal, and I spoke with a representative of the alarm company who was stationed at the main sensor panel for this past week’s concert run to make sure we weren’t interrupted again. They’re working on improvements to the high-tech alarm system now.

  • Stephen Owades says:

    Also, this was indeed reported in the Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/Boston/metrodesk/2012/01/audience-evacuated-from-symphony-hall-during-bso-performance/Q84nxyfYBOKau2dzeiQYsI/index.html). It wasn’t part of the Globe’s concert review, which dealt with the first performance the previous Thursday night. I heard the entire concert myself on Friday, and thought Giancarlo Guerrero had done a fine “Rite of Spring,” which is why I wanted to hear it again on Tuesday. The Saturday-night performance, like all BSO programs, can be heard on-demand (for two weeks) from the WGBH radio website (http://www.wgbh.org/995).

  • Elaine Fine says:

    @Stephen! A fond hello!