Larry Johnson on South Florida Classical Review reports that ‘Michael Tilson Thomas told a woman sitting near the stage with a child in her lap that she was distracting him and asked her to leave…. The child was apparently sleeping noiselessly on the woman’s lap.’
Full report here.
UPDATE: We have received this clarification from a player in the New World Symphony, who asked for anonymity:
MTT was distracted by the woman and child during the second movement (not sure on details – I know that it was more than the mother caressing her sleeping daughter’s hair) and kindly asked them to move to one side before the slow movement started.
This might not be a problem ordinarily, but in this particular hall, the portion of the audience that is behind the orchestra is in direct sightline for the conductor. They did not realize he was talking to them at first, but then other audience members made them aware. They got up and proceeded to take a very long time to find another seat – the noise from their shoes made it seem like an eternity. It ended with an applause from the audience and a beautiful return to concerto.
2nd UPDATE: Read the conductor’s story here.