Tonight Joshua Bell will be awarded the Avery Fisher Prize, given once every few years to classical instrumentalists for outstanding achievement, at Lincoln Center. Not long ago, however, one of the best classical musicians in the world...performed as a street musician.
Every day we see them in the subways, street corners, and other nooks and crannies of the city. Not long ago, Arcade Fire was seen busking in Union Square! Do people really notice the musicians though, or do they just pass them by? Bell did an experiment in DC to see what would happen if he were amongst the often anonymous that play for change in public spaces. The outcome?: "Among 1,097 people who passed by, only one recognized him and only a couple more were drawn to his music. However, every single child who passed by attempted to stop and listen, before being hastened on by their parents. For his nearly 45 minute performance, Bell collected $32.17."
Here's DCist's take on a busking Bell.
Photo from the video of Bell busking, via Washington Post.