Even if you are unfamiliar with his name, you might remember watching Joshua Bell in this 2007 video. The time lapse shows Bell, a world-renowned violinist, playing incognito at a Washington D.C. Metro station. In just under an hour, more than 1,000 commuters walked past, but just a few acknowledged Bell. Only seven people stopped to listen.
The two-minute clip has been viewed more than six million times and sparked a national conversation about public taste and our ability to recognize beauty in day-to-day life. More than 10 years later, Bell has continued to play at theaters around the world (no more metros, however) and received Grammy nominations (he is up to six nominations and one win).
Thursday, Feb. 7, Bell will perform on his $3.5 million violin alongside English pianist Sam Haywood at Cal Poly’s Harold Miossi Hall. Tickets range from $38 to $98 — but students can buy $10 rush tickets at the door.
A Music Department lecturer will lead a free talk at 6:30 p.m. about the storied history of Bell’s 1713 Gibson ex Huberman violin (the 300-plus-year-old instrument has been stolen twice). The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will feature pieces by Beethoven, Prokofiev and Grieg.