Monday, April 09, 2007

If you're at all a fan of classical music, you should check out the Washington Post article about Joshua Bell playing incognito in the subway in D.C. Try this link, I don't know how long it will work. Joshua Bell is one of the greatest violinists in the world, and he plays on a priceless Stradivarius. The Post convinced him to play for about 45 minutes unannounced at the entrance to the L'Enfant Plaza subway stop. You'll have to read the article to find out what happened, but one of the main points is how so many of us are too busy to appreciate beauty. I wonder which group I would have been in-- the ones who hurried on by, raising their voices on their cell phones to be heard above the music, or the ones who stopped to listen. I think, I'm sad to say, that it would depend on the day. There would be days where I would rush right on because I was late for something "important." But there would be days when I would stop. I've stopped for lesser musicians than that, I know. I remember once on a subway in-- let's see, it must have been D.C. because that's the only true subway I've been on in the past four years-- there was a guitar player playing. He probably wasn't a professional-level player, I'm not enough of an aficionado to know, but he was good enough that it sounded heavenly in the echoing subway chamber. We were tourists, with time on our hands, so we stopped to listen for awhile. But there are plenty of times when I'm late for something and anything that stands in my way is just a nuisance. And that's a shame.

Aunt BeaN


  1. There is a great response to the Joshua Bell article by a NYC subway musician in her blog:
    She interprets the situation differently from the Washington Post reporters... I thought you might find it interesting.

  2. oh, thanks for that! You're right it is another interesting perspective. I still think it would have been pretty amazing to hear Joshua Bell echoing through the subway even if you didn't have time to stop.