How do I take the DC subway

The world of classical music is sublime and precious - full of unique events and flawless moments, populated by exquisite artists and their admirable deeds. But nowadays it also has to be full of boldness, risk and populist adventure. Marketing, advertising, attracting attention are the main precepts.

To understand that, take a world-famous violinist, ideally perhaps the most brilliant and serious in the United States, and do something sublime with him, stage the trash. So he has to make music in an ambience where nobody suspects him, of course without tails, and in such a way that nobody in the audience recognizes and appreciates him and his precious instrument. An experiment that happened in the capital Washington.

On January 12th, 7:51 am, at the hour of the morning rush hour, the 40-year-old violinist Joshua Bell began to play disguised as a street musician in a draughty subway passage in Washington, the station L'Enfant Plaza. And the Washington Post conducting this experiment has now reported about it in a large report. Bell had taken a taxi from his hotel to the metro, which was a few meters away, for one reason only: because of the million dollar Stradivarius that Fritz Kreisler had once played around the world.

Bell did not give a concert with her, he only played this violin and began with Johann Sebastian Bach's well-known and difficult Chaconne in D minor. Hundreds of passers-by who came up the escalator and hurried to the exits as usual, of course, did not notice the violinist, or only briefly noticed. A hidden camera recorded the action of the daily newspaper.

It was only after three minutes of playing Bach that anything remarkable happened. Exactly 63 people had rushed past him, deaf to music, before someone threw a few coins into the box at the violinist's feet. Very few were tempted to stop and listen, and gave change. At the end, after 43 minutes of "concert", 1,070 people had walked past the everyday musician, making him a total of $ 32.17 richer.

Virtuoso and disturbance

Can you compare that with the fees that the same artist is allowed to collect after his concerts in New York, Boston, Vienna, Munich or Tokyo? Yes, maybe you could live with that too, he said afterwards, but then he didn't need an agent. . .

For Joshua Bell it was obviously a successful learning process about the art public, the value of the artist and also a borderline experience regarding his work and his fame: "When I play for ticket holders, I already have a value must be accepted, because there it is already ". Bell was probably already thinking about the new play and listening situation before the Metro appearance, about his "unknown" audience: "What if you don't like me? What if you resent my presence?"

A famous musician allowed himself to be persuaded by the media to undertake a rare, sociologically informative music event, to attempt a self-experiment with the audience as the "fleeting" being. With no protection from his career and concert situation, Joshua Bell certainly not only wanted to have fun for himself and others, but also to recognize that, conversely, the everyday ambulatory sound actions carried out in all cities and streets of the world by medium-sized, small and even smaller musicians Make music. And that his own status as a virtuoso, as a privileged star musician spoiled by success, also thanks to this experience does not remain without disturbance.