Violin Virtuoso as Street Performer

The Washington Post has an intriguing story about violin master Joshua Bell playing in a D.C. Metro station as a street performer to see if busy people can recognize beauty in mundane settings. The piece is long and over-written, but as a one-time street performer myself it’s pretty interesting.

Long story short, Bell made $32.17 in 43 minutes (actually, it was $52.17, but they didn’t count the $20 sheepishly tossed in by someone who recognized Bell and knew how amazing what she was experiencing really was). The article is mostly full of bewilderment that people are too busy to notice a master at work. I’m just impressed a street performer could do that well with a commuter crowd (the weekend tourist crowd is really what you want–they have the time to kill and the money to burn).

Bell’s response to his own haul: “Actually, that’s not so bad, considering. That’s 40 bucks an hour. I could make an OK living doing this, and I wouldn’t have to pay an agent.” (link via

2 thoughts on “Violin Virtuoso as Street Performer”

  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. I agree that the article was over-written in the sense that I felt they were stretching for vocab points, but I really liked the article nonetheless. One of the most interesting ones I’ve read in quite awhile.

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