EppsNet Archive: Joshua Bell

What Might We Be Missing?

Joshua Bell is a violinist, one of the world’s greatest classical musicians. The Washington Post a few years ago did an experiment where they put him in a DC metro station wearing a pair of jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. Like a street musician. He’s got an open violin case in front of him so people can put money in. It’s about 8 a.m. on a Friday, morning rush hour. He plays for 45 minutes, and 1,097 people pass through the area where he’s playing. Before watching the video, you may want to consider out of that many people — more than 1,000 — how many will recognize the quality for what it is? How many will stop and listen? How much money will he make? Before you answer, keep in mind that he’s not going to play popular tunes that a lot of people… Read more →

Do People Recognize Beauty in Everyday Life?

This is a few years old now, but I just saw it today. (Please read Gene Weingarten‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning story from the Washington Post for the full details.) The premise is that Joshua Bell, international virtuoso, one of the best violinists in the world — maybe the best violinist in the world — dresses in jeans, T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap, and for 45 minutes plays several renowned classical pieces (on a good fiddle — the Gibson ex-Huberman Stradivarius of 1713, purchased by Bell in 2003 for $4 million) in a Washington, D.C., metro station, during a Friday morning rush hour, with a violin case open in front of him for donations. Do people recognize beauty in everyday life? [SPOILER ALERT] No. They don’t. Stacy Furukawa, a demographer at the Commerce Department, is the only person out of 1,000 or so passers-by who recognizes Bell. “It was the most astonishing… Read more →