April 13th, 2007

Joshua Bell, at L'Enfant Plaza Metro.

From http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html:

Pearls Before Breakfast

By Gene Weingarten
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 8, 2007; Page W10

"It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, January 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.

"On that Friday in January, those private questions would be answered in an unusually public way. 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. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?

"So, what do you think happened?"

(Thanks to kjc. Posted particularly for my friends who take the Metro every day.)

Discussion on the article is at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/04/06/DI2007040601228.html. Audio and video are linked from within the article.