Joshua Bell may not be a name familiar to many of you. He and his two sisters grew up on a farm in Bloomington, Indiana. Although he was a fairly good athlete, especially when it came to tennis, his true gift was music. Continue reading . . .
Joshua Bell may not be a name familiar to many of you. He and his two sisters grew up on a farm in Bloomington, Indiana. Although he was a fairly good athlete, especially when it came to tennis, his true gift was music. When he was four years old, his parents noticed him plucking tunes on rubber bands that he had stretched around the handles of his dresser drawers. They bought him a violin. By the time he was 12 he was widely recognized as a prodigy.
Today, Bell routinely packs out concert halls around the world and has recorded more than 30 cd’s of what many regard as the best in classical music.
But in 2007, the Washington Post decided to conduct an experiment in what they called “an unblinking assessment of public taste” (Gene Weingarten, “Pearls before Breakfast,” Washington Post, Sunday, 4/8/07; page W10).
It happened in a Washington, D.C. Metro subway station during rush hour. I wasn’t there, and I doubt if you were either, but you can view the entire thing on You Tube. Just type in Stop and Hear the Music.
Bell, wearing a baseball cap and blue jeans, played a brilliant classical repertoire for 45 minutes. It’s important that you understand that Bell is routinely paid an astronomical sum of money to play in the most prestigious concert halls worldwide. But here he was playing in a subway station with his violin case on the ground in front of him, to see who if any would reward his efforts with some loose change.
1,070 people passed by during the course of the 45 minute concert. 27 paused briefl