Food for thought: Perception, Taste and Priorities

Joshua Bell at the Metro


In April 2007 Joshua Bell, one of the top musicians in the world, played incognito in a Washington, D.C. metro station.   The article asks:

No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?

The experiment begs some questions:  In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour, how do we perceive beauty?  Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected?  One of the possible conclusions could also be:  If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing perhaps the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?




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