Conductor's sweet revenge on coughing concert-goers

17:56, Nov 28 2013
Michael Tilson Thomas
SWEET REVENGE: Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas

American conductor Michael Tilson Thomas has found an unusually direct way of dealing with the bane of concert-goers everywhere - persistent coughing from the audience.

During the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance of Mahler's Symphony No 9, the opening movement was repeatedly disrupted by snuffles, snorts and sneezes.

Tilson Thomas disappeared from the stage between movements, returning with two large handfuls of cough sweets that he then threw into the audience.

He said he hoped that would fix things up and asked the audience members to pass them along to anyone who needed them.

Celeste Wroblewski, a spokeswoman for the orchestra said the audience responded "in the same good-natured spirit, with laughter and applause".

Tilson Thomas' actions were similarly well received in comments on social media.

"About time, I say! I was there and think it was done (and received) in good humor! Laughter and applause ensued before they went into the scherzo. And you know, there was minimal coughing from then on," said one contributor to the Chicago Classical Review website.

"I think it was a Mahleria outbreak," chortled another.

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