There’s a story about American modernist composer Charles Ives when he was still a young boy. He loved going to parades in his local town, and listen to the marching bands (his father was a U.S. Army bandleader). But he was particularly fascinated by the confluence of sound that would happen as one new band marched into earshot while another had still not yet faded away. Listening to these two contrasting and “unrelated” pieces simultaneously is said to have had a huge impact on his own musical style.

It occurs to me every time I hear cell phones going off at a classical music concert, I’ll bet Ives would have delightfully embraced that interruption we all abhor.