Tilson Thomas throws out the first lozenge at Chicago Symphony concert
Michael Tilson Thomas found a novel way for dealing with bronchial Chicago audiences last weekend.
Last Thursday night’s opening performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 with Tilson Thomas leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was plagued by audience coughs, which proved especially distracting in the hushed pages of the final movement.
On Saturday night, there was even more coughing throughout the first movement. The conductor went offstage and emerged with two large handfuls of loose cough lozenges, which he tossed underhanded into the main floor audience seats. He said he hoped that would solve the problem and encouraged audience members to pass them on to those that need them.
Celeste Wroblewski, the orchestra’s vice-president of public relations, confirmed the details Monday, adding, in an email, that “the audience responded in the same good-natured spirit, with laughter and applause.”