Bell’s Hells

There’s a fascinating piece in the Washington Post right now about a stunt involving Joshua Bell playing at a Metro stop to see how much people would notice.

Bell is one of the most well-reputed classical violinists in the world, but that didn’t matter:

“At a music hall, I’ll get upset if someone coughs or if someone’s cellphone goes off. But here, my expectations quickly diminished. I started to appreciate any acknowledgment, even a slight glance up. I was oddly grateful when someone threw in a dollar instead of change.” This is from a man whose talents can command $1,000 a minute.

The article is well written and fascinating throughout, including interviews with passers-by, a famous conductor, and of course Bell himself. But I particularly love the excerpt above and Bell’s comments immediately following it, about getting stage fright only because commuters hadn’t requested his presence (as opposed to the “crowned heads of Europe,” each of whom paid for a ticket).

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