AROUND SLOVAKIA

Turn off your mobile!

During a concert of classical music in the Prešov synagogue in the summer 2011, a mobile telephone phone rang and a Prešov-born violin player, Lukáš Kmiť, aged 25, showed a moment of surprise and stared into the audience. The phone’s jingle sounded again and Kmiť then immediately mimicked it on his violin in a brief but astounding improvisation. The audience applauded and laughed – and at least one member of the audience recorded a short video that later appeared on YouTube, attracting millions of viewers.

During a concert of classical music in the Prešov synagogue in the summer 2011, a mobile telephone phone rang and a Prešov-born violin player, Lukáš Kmiť, aged 25, showed a moment of surprise and stared into the audience. The phone’s jingle sounded again and Kmiť then immediately mimicked it on his violin in a brief but astounding improvisation. The audience applauded and laughed – and at least one member of the audience recorded a short video that later appeared on YouTube, attracting millions of viewers.

Comments have been added every day to the YouTube video, especially after the BBC and other media featured the young Slovak and the ringtone event this year at the end of January. The video has spread with breathtaking speed over the last few weeks with hundreds of new comments appearing to praise the musician’s reaction and his sense of humour as well as his talent.

Other musicians told the Pravda daily they understand that someone can arrive quickly at a concert and forget to switch off their mobile phone, but added that it is still extremely annoying. “For me, the only acceptable way to handle it is with sleek silence. If I join the situation as a performing artist with any reaction whatsoever, everyone will lose sight of what has happened before then in the music,” said piano virtuoso Magdaléna Bajúszová. She evaluated Kmiť’s reaction as a good joke and added that the “culprit” should feel worse than the performer.

“I have seen such a thing, too, and one person even had his mobile in his coat pocket – meaning he had to leave to retrieve it, with the mobile ringing for a very long time. I do not know whether it is better to cancel concerts or mobile phones,” joked cellist Eugen Prochác to the daily.

Musicians tend to agree that at the beginning of the mobile era, a ringing phone could be heard during almost every concert but say that the situation is better today since there is an announcement at the beginning of every musical and theatrical performance to switch phones off.

“One viewer had her mobile phone ring three times because she was not able to find it. If I had been performing at that time, I would have stood up and interrupted the performance. Not that it would have completely thrown me off but the interruption can happen at a bad moment and concentration is lost; some unpleasant moments can come before you find yourself again,” Prochác told Pravda.

The Nokia tune that interrupted Kmiť's performance is a classic taken from Gran Vals by Spanish classical guitarist and composer Francisco Tarrega. Milan Ferenčík attended the Prešov concert as a photojournalist and his friend Jakub Haško was there as cameraman. They recorded the event and put in on YouTube, Ferenčík told the Korzár daily.

The link to the video is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMHyoWXmS0A

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