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Conductor Nezet-Seguin schools audience in concert etiquette after cell phone interruptions

Left: Philadelphia Orchestra
Right: AP Photo/Alex Brandon Left: Philadelphia Orchestra Right: AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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"Can we live without the damn phone for just one hour?"

It's a phrase not soon to be forgotten by fans of The Philadelphia Orchestra, where conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin lectured his audience after their ringing cellphones interrupted the show -- multiple times.

During a May 7 concert, after a ringtone pierced through the air midway through Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 -- for the second time -- Nézet-Séguin decided he'd had enough.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Montreal-born conductor stopped the orchestra, turned to the crowd and firmly, but civilly, gave them the business.

The phrase "Can we live without the damn phone for just one hour" appeared to resonate with audiences beyond Philly's Verizon Hall, making the rounds on social media.

It wasn't long before the words made it to the Philadelphia Orchestra's merchandise page, emblazoned on tote bags and phone cases.

Nézet-Séguin did not respond to an interview request from CTV News, but told The Inquirer his goal was to help his audience "not to be distracted by daily life."

In addition to serving as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Grammy award-winning conductor is also director of the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.  

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