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VIDEO: YOUTUBE: Joshua Bell; Washington Post in Metro DC, Length 2:44


Gene Weingarten from the Washington post writes: "HE EMERGED FROM THE METRO AT THE L’ENFANT PLAZA STATION AND POSITIONED HIMSELF AGAINST A WALL BESIDE A TRASH BASKET. By most measures, he was nondescript: a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin.


Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money, swiveled it to face pedestrian traffic, and began to play. It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 12, the middle of the morning rush hour. In the next 43 minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by."


Weingarten says: "No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made.”


But on that Friday in January, Joshua Bell, the international acclaimed virtuoso, playing a seventeenth century violin valued at 3.5 million dollars was just another noisemaker competing for the attention of busy people on their way to work.


He can command as much as $1,000 per minute for his skills with the violin, but on this average busy day only a handful of people actually stopped to listen. After his masterful 43 minute performance, he managed to amass a whopping $32 dollars and seventeen cents. The Washington Post arranged this experiment to find out if musical genius would be recognized by the masses if it were played in an ordinary place. It was not. (www.startribune.com/465/story/1110380.html)