A concert violinist and a modern maestro, Joshua Bell, received the Avery Fisher prize this week in New York. Washington Post conducted this little experiment of making him play in a Washington DC metro station during rush hour for loose change like a street performer. Mr. Bell played greatest pieces created by mankind like Johann Sebastian Bach's "Chaconne" and Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria" for about 50 mins.
Guess what!! Just seven ppl stop to listen and appreciate the music and only ONE person recognizes that it is Mr. Joshua Bell. Fascinating story!!
Original story by post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html?hpid=topnews
NPR interview with Mr. Bell: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9521098
I vividly remember one such embarrassment. When Violin Maestro TN Krishnan came to Pilani in 1999, there was expected to be a crowd. But there were around 20 people and barely occupied the first row in the huge auditorium. For the Immanuel Kants of the group, here an pseudo-epistemological question, which is more embarrassing?
But I am sure the Bell story would have taken a different turn if he played on a Saturday afternoon in Union Square, NY or SF.