A Philadelphia story told by Abram Chasins captures the Stokowski conundrum.
Before a performance, he would secrete himself in his dressing room and do deep-breathing exercises. "If someone said 'Good evening' or merely brushed past him when he was on his way to the stage, he would wheel around and return to his room to restore his former degree of concentration." This could delay a concert by as long as 15 minutes. The gesture was as practical as it was theatrical: Stokowski conducted in a trance.