AROUND SLOVAKIA

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FEBRUARY: DURING a concert of classical music in Prešov synagogue in the summer of 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.

FEBRUARY: DURING a concert of classical music in Prešov synagogue in the summer of 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 2012 it attracted comments every day, especially after the BBC and other media featured the young Slovak and the ringtone incident at the end of January. Other musicians told the Pravda daily that they understood that someone can arrive quickly at a concert and forget to switch off their mobile phone, but added that it is still extremely annoying. 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 performance to switch phones off.

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 it on YouTube, Ferenčík told the Korzár daily. The link to the video is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uub0z8wJfhU.

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