NY Philharmonic to install new speedy exit ramp for patrons

Apr 28, 2010

The New York Philharmonic, the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, and also the orchestra with historically the most restive audience members, has announced the planned installation of a new “Listener Speedy Exit Ramp” which will enable to patrons to leave their seats either during or after a performance in less than 2.5 seconds.

The “LSER” is a response to longstanding requests from subscription holders for a faster mode of self-ejection from the concert hall. The Philharmonic’s audiences already hold the world record for abrupt departure from concerts. The LSER will be a particularly comforting addition to the concert-going experience for patrons anxious about contemporary music, as in the case next month when music director Alan Gilbert will present “Le Grand Macabre” by the twentieth century master György Ligeti.

The new ramp, which resembles an extremely fast escalator, will run from the middle of the hall, between Rows M and N, and ascend to an exit door at the loge level. Patrons will now be able to find themselves on Broadway and West 65th Street in record time. “They should be able to exit the building in a matter of seconds, outta there even before the first idiot yells “brava,” said a Philharmonic spokesperson.

(audience members will be able to exit concert hall in 2.5 seconds)

“This ramp will automatically start up during the final chords of the last piece of every program, and it will be running and ready for use even before the music has stopped” said the spokesperson. “It’s connected to a state-of-the-art computerized ‘Schenker Sensor’, which collects all the pitch data in previous passages, collates it and then can accurately identify the arrival of the true tonic. It then sends an electric impulse that throws a switch—on goes the escalator and, presto-change-o—out goes your patron.”

Another high tech addition to Avery Fisher Hall will be a new three-bulb signal light, similar to your standard traffic light, to be installed on the back of the conductor’s podium. The red, amber and green lights will also help to alert audience members to the approach of any final stretto or coda-styled harmonic resolution, thereby giving listeners valuable advance warning for early departure from the concert.

“We recently commissioned a survey of our audience members and found that roughly 20% of our listeners are unable to tell when a piece of music, even if it’s Beethoven’s Fifth, has ended. They don’t know prolongation from their Cousin Frank. We are hoping that providing these stop and go lights, which we will call our “Terminal Closure Indicator,” will help our subscribers to better negotiate the ins and outs of the listening experience.”

Hellmouth reporters did a quick, unscientific survey of Philharmonic patrons and found overwhelming support for both the Listener Speedy Exit Ramp and the Terminal Closure Indicator.

(new TCI tells alerts listeners when and when not to leave seats)

“It’s a great idea,” said Mrs. A.J. “Muffy” Wadsworth III of Darien, CT, who was interviewed with her friend leaving a recent matinee. “Last year we heard that Mahler piece with singers—you know, the one with the poems by that Chinese fellow—and we couldn’t for the life of us tell when the damn thing was over. Three times I grabbed my purse and coat and said to Dibsy, “Let’s go dear, if we hurry we can catch the 5:50 from Penn Station. But then that singer just kept droning on and on—something about an earwig. No one in our section could tell if it would ever end.”

The Philharmonic says that the escalator will cause some issues that they hope eventually to solve. Patrons with seats behind it will have limited sight lines. More problematic, however, may be the substantial noise generated by the ramp while in operation.

A Hellmouth reporter embedded in the audience made this unauthorized recording of a recent trial run of the Listener Speedy Exit Ramp. Listen carefully and you can hear the exit ramp’s motors automatically kick in at the arrival of the final tonic.

Comments (36)

April 28, 2010

Love it. :-)

April 28, 2010

You are lovely crazy

April 28, 2010

"Schenker Sensor" - brilliant!

David G.
April 28, 2010

I remember a NY Phil concert when an older lady got up to leave during Bartok's Concerto for Orch and said 'I can't stand this new music'! BTW, FYI - The train to Darien leaves from Grand Central.

April 29, 2010

Looking forward to your upcoming concerts with the NSO in Wash., D.C.
So far the Kennedy Center has not installed any LSER technology, but it could be useful. I remember shortly after the start of the Messiaen Turangalila performed by the NSO (under Slatkin) a visibly annoyed Chevy Chase matron (among others) heading up the aisle.
Audiences tend to be conservative here in DC, so if you can perhaps re-write any of your planned works to tone down the modern dissonance, it would be appreciated.

Phillip Golub
April 29, 2010

Schenker Sensor hahahahaha

April 29, 2010

Will there be an E-Z Pass option for those really in a hurry?

Mark K
April 29, 2010

That is so accurate. "YesokthanksfortheexperienceOKHONEYWE'REOFF"
In reference to an earlier post, perhaps the conductor should also have ejector seat options for members of the audience he finds patricularly disturbing!

April 29, 2010

A steady diet of Nielsen and Ives should make easy work of that Schenker Sensor...

...unless they've worked out some kind of 'alternative' tonality (heaven forbid) compensation algorithm.

Antoine Leboyer
April 29, 2010

Is there also an option to enable patrons to know when to applaude (and when not ..)

April 29, 2010

1. Simon Rattle (in his biography):

"Bernard Haitink says you expect them to applaud after the third movement of the Tchaikovsky 'Pathetique', but it New York they put on their coats and left!"

2. Alan Rich (RIP) coined the phrase "Ligeti split" to describe Los Angeles audiences fleeing a performance of the Ligeti Requiem conducted by Salonen in the 1990s...... (although he brought his audience round eventually, pairing it with Beethoven's 9th about 10 years later).

Bianca Lopes
April 29, 2010

can't stop laughing, brilliant!

April 29, 2010

Won't the Schenker sensor find Ligeti problematic?

April 30, 2010

Tonight at the Rochester Phil concert we needed both a Dependsinator and a toddler-throttler.

April 30, 2010

This is why sound art will become more popular. people will be able to walk into a gallery and listen for as briefly as they now look and be able to immediately talk all about it.

Graham Lack
April 30, 2010

"They don’t know prolongation from their Cousin Frank" -- one of the very few laugh out loud jibes I've read in recent times. Keep up the good work. Acom Poser.

April 30, 2010

Haha, this is classic - and, it should be noted, new music isn't always the cause of "premature exits". I attended a concert at Avery Fisher a few years back, and it was a pretty long show. Audience members started filtering out during the last movement of the final piece on the show - which was Brahms' 4th.

Scott Pender
May 3, 2010

"something about an earwig." Took me a minute, then I laughed like hell...

May 4, 2010

OMG...Roshanne and I couldn't stop laughing!

Did you make that sound with your coffee grinder??

good stuff...of course Tchaik 5 might, indeed, need such an indicator...it just won't end.

May 11, 2010


May 11, 2010

Oh I'm laughing and laughing ...again... !

Ed Echels
May 11, 2010

Loved it.

Could and would have used any contraption to leave a John Gage concert held in the Recital Hall at the University of Texas at Austin around 1964 or so. John Gage-Music--I think not.

Neil McKelvie
May 13, 2010


European audiences are not necessarily an improvement over NY ones. In Budapest, there was a prolonged ff passage which ended in a subito piano, when a woman's comment, in Hungarian of course, produced a roar of laughter. What was she saying to her neighbor when their conversation became audible? As i was told, "I cook it with tomatoes"!!

Paul Rosenblum
May 14, 2010

Fairly funny, very hostile and extremely condescending. Who'll be laughing when the audience from Darien stops buying tickets because the whole experience is deemed unnecessary?

May 14, 2010

The other night at the NY Phil/Masur Bruckner 7 concert, a man was talking in full voice during the dramatic grand pause near the end of the piece. The jury is still out as to whether he said "I've got a cramp in my leg!" or "I've got crap on my leg!". In any case, it spoiled an otherwise
special moment.

May 21, 2010

@Patrick: Since I was paid to do it, I have had to sit through a dozen+ performances of Turangalila at the celesta (I played the thing too). I would have taken any exit available in a New York minute. The best I could do under the circumstances was make up the following:

A suspect went into depressaien
Induced by a large dose of Messaien;
He cried "Oh the pain
Of those sounds in my brain!
Just stop and I'll sign a confessaien!"

This experience led to a life-long dislike of Messaein, both the music and the man. This was exacerbated by repeated performances of "St. Francis" which took 3 hours (although we only did half of it). Watching him in action I concluded that he was a fraud, especially since after he died he didn't rise on the 3rd day.

May 28, 2010

I was at the first performance of Le Grand Macabre last night. My favorite moment came as the two folks on the aisle across from me -- both elderly with canes who arose with great difficulty -- had to get up so the perfectly spry lady in seat 3 could flee BEFORE the piece ended. Perhaps some kind of seat ejection device -- to loft people above the crowd mid-performance -- is also in order.

September 5, 2010

This would be especially useful for musicians in Broadway pits too - maybe it could go directly from the pit of each theater onto the subway platform somehow...

September 27, 2010

Maybe a Jonathan Kramer-inspired "Vertical Listening" ejection device might be appropriate. If a moment-form piece begins, listeners can be lifted up to a ceiling exit via cables and wires.

October 24, 2010

New Yorkers are too impatient to wait for a ramp. Anyway, that's not disruptive enough. Attention Seeking Behavior comes in many varieties. The audience is always part of the performance. - gotta go.

Bill M
November 18, 2010

Just to avoid any unintended dissonance, could you perhaps install appropriate software in the Listener Speedy Exit Ramp so that the motor's drone can be transposed to the tonic of the piece about to end? The exiting patrons could then perhaps hum along.

Robert Boardman
February 13, 2011

Time for a side job at The Onion

August 15, 2011

[url="http://www.ghd4australian.com/" title="Cheap GHD Australia"]Cheap GHD Australia[/url][url="http://www.ghd4australian.com/ghd-glamour-limited-edition-c-20.html" title="GHD Glamour Limited Edition"]GHD Glamour Limited Edition[/url][url="http://www.ghd4australian.com/ghd-iv-dark-styler-c-1.html" title="GHD IV Dark Styler"]GHD IV Dark Styler[/url][url="http://www.ghd4australian.com/ghd-mini-straighteners-c-17.html" title="GHD Mini straighteners"]GHD Mini straighteners[/url]
[url="http://www.ghd4australian.com/"]GHD Hair Straightener Sale[/url]which is our new product in the busy season and i hope that [url="http://www.ghd4australian.com/ghd-deluxe-midnight-collection-c-16.html"]GHD Deluxe Midnight Collection[/url]and [url="http://www.ghd4australian.com/ghd-boho-chic-limited-edition-c-19.html"]GHD Boho Chic Limited Edition[/url] will bring you a new feeling in your daily life.

May 24, 2012

The recording of the LSER has a familiar cycle sound..the shopping cart escalator at Bed, Bath and Beyond? Mebbe the chocolate grinder at the Ghirardelli factory? Thank you as always for the refreshing poke at the grim visage of the classical concert.

p.s. I(heart)NY

Matthew P
July 17, 2012

"Something about an earwig"--ROFL

Ed A
November 18, 2012

You know, I think they're on to something. But it should be a pay-per-use service. No more budget issues!

Add a Comment

always kept private