What if the world’s best violinist played the world’s best violin at a subway stop?

June 17, 2008     ·      1 min read     · 

Joshua Bell is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso. As part of a fantastic experiment in context, perception, public taste and priorities, Joshua Bell agreed to play his Stradivarius incognito at the L’Enfant Plaza station in DC at 8 am on Friday, January 12 in the middle of the morning rush hour.

In the next 43 minutes, 1,097 people passed by as Joshua performed his classical pieces. Only twenty-seven people gave money, most of them on the run – providing $32.17! The other 1,070 just hurried by, oblivious, few bothering to even look!

I bet he would have received about the same amount of attention in NY. We New Yorkers are more “busy” and “important” than government workers in DC, but that would be compensated by the slightly higher percentage appreciating the music and maybe recognizing Bell 🙂

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