Sounds familiar

I will always remember a writer friend from college who teased a musician we both knew with a comment to the effect of “gee, women never want to come over and watch me write.”

As a writer, I’m often envious of the attention musicians and actors get for their live performances. But an amazing experiment, conducted earlier this year by The Washington Post, turned all that on its head.

What if you took one of the world’s most acclaimed concert violinists (a strikingly handsome man, to boot) and had him busk solo in a Washington, D.C. Metro station? Would people notice or appreciate the extraordinary quality of his performance? Or would they hurry past, oblivious, yammering on their cell phones?

Leonard Slatkin, music director of the National Symphony, predicted that perhaps 4 out of 100 people would “recognize the quality for what it is,” adding “Maybe 75 will stop and spend some time listening.”

What do you think?

Here’s what happened. And here’s a link to the entire 45 minute performance.