Even if you’re not a fan of classical music, you may know about violinist Joshua Bell from the “Stop and Hear the Music” video that’s been circulating around the internet. In January 2007, The Washington Post got Bell to agree to perform what he called “a stunt,” playing incognito in L’Enfant Plaza Station in Washington D.C. for tips, and what the subsequent Post story about it called “an experiment in context, perception and priorities — as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?”
Sadly, it did not.
Three days before, Bell had played at Symphony Hall in Boston, where tickets went for around $100. Shortly after the January gig at L’Enfant Plaza Station–which netted him a little over $30–he appeared at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to accept the Avery Fisher Prize for best classical musician in America. You can read the detailed, chatty April 2007 Post article here and watch “Stop and Hear the Music” here.
The number of people who passed by Joshua Bell on their way through L’Enfant Plaza Station that day without stopping (1,070) has now been exceeded by the number of Joshua Bell videos that have been uploaded on You Tube (1,090).
I could listen to him play all day.
Joshua Bell performing Chopin’s Nocturne in C Sharp Minor
Please do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to stop and hear the music.