Stifle that Cough! Say Carnegie Hall Patrons

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In November, the guest conductor Michael Tilson Thomas famously dealt with a bronchial audience at a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert by lobbing cough drops into the crowd during Mahler’s Ninth. Earlier that month, pianist Andras Schiff stopped in the middle of an encore in Boston to scold an audience member who had coughed. Less demonstrative performers usually opt to ride it out.

But restraining a cough is not always that simple, say some concertgoers. During Tuesday night's Carnegie Hall Live broadcast by the Boston Symphony, WQXR producer Aaron Dalton confronted several patrons in the hall's lobby to ask: What do you do when you have to cough at a concert?

"If it's during the performance and you can't do anything about it, you put your mouth into your sleeve," said one audience member. Another was more blunt: "I cough when I need to cough." Still another said, "I would like to restrain myself sometimes but there's nothing to be done."

Listen to the responses below and tell us in the comments box: how you manage a cold or cough at concerts?