Conductor throws cough sweets into Chicago audience

Michael Tilson Thomas showers audience with cough lozenges

Michael Tilson Thomas

When a Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance of the opening of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony was interrupted by coughing, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas decided to take action.


After the first movement, he left the stage only to re-emerge a few moments later with his hands full of cough sweets, which he then threw into the audience.

According to the Chicago Classical Review website, Thomas added that he hoped that would solve the problem and invited people to pass them along to anyone who needed them.

A spokesperson for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra said that ‘the audience responded in the same good-natured spirit, with laughter and applause.’


The concert took place at Symphony Center in Chicago on Saturday 23 November and the programme also included Stravinsky’s Elegy for JFK.