Monday, April 09, 2007

Joshua Bell (violinist) performs on "Five Lines"

On Sunday, April 8, 2007 Gene Weingarten wrote a story for The Washington Post Magazine, “Pearls Before Breakfast: Can one of the nation’s great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let’s find out.” On Friday, January 12, 2007 (a mild morning, before the month long cold snap arrived), Joshua Bell, one of the world’s leading violinists, playing on his hand-crafted Stradivarius, started a 43 minute concert of unaccompanied violin music by Bach (much of if being the Chaconne in the violin-friendly key of d minor), playing in the manner of a New York City subway musician, at Washington D.C.’s L’Enfant Plaza, where the Yellow-Blue and Green-Yellow lines cris-cross (remember the movie “Five Lines”?). (He would also play a transcription of Franz Schubert’s Ave Maria, Manuel Ponce ‘s “Estrelitta” and some Massenet). Now Bell, 39 but looking younger and quite handsome by social standards, dressed with a Nationals cap (and those Nats aren’t doing to well, are they, coming off of a four game sweep loss at home to Arizona, chuckle) would make only $32 in the event. (Maybe that isn’t so bad.) At least one person recognized him, and many people assumed he was homeless but found that hard to believe.

Here is the full audio of the event (43 minutes).

Here is the news story with three video clips.

Here is a related discussion for Post Magazine.

These articles may become archived and require online purchase from The Post.

Joshua Bell appears as (I) on

1 comment:

adooma said...

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.