No respect for Joshua Bell

9 04 2007

An amazing piece from the Washington Post about concert violinist Joshua Bell taking up a challenge to busk in the lobby of a DC subway station in rush hour. The focus of the story is on what commuter reaction was to this fabulous musician.

Apparently, the reporters expected a large crowd of onlookers and even talked about what they would do in the event the crowd become too large. However, in the end no more than four people actually stopped to listen, and only at the end. the big takeaway message was how uninterested people were in Bell’s playing.

What’s never spelled out, though, is that is a famous pop singer did the same — perhaps Eric Clapton strumming on a guitar — those worries about crowd control would quickly become reality. In today’s musical world, classical music just doesn’t cut it much anymore.

And that’s a shame.
I’d like to think that if I saw Joshua Bell sawing away on the street, I’d stop and listen. Hell, I have his recording of Chausson’s Concert for violin, piano and string quartet (with I think the Julliard String Quartet, but don’t quote me on that) — a wonderful work.

Then again, you never really know.

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One response

10 04 2007

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.

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