A Grammy Award winning violinist once spent an afternoon playing in the subway as part of a social experiment.
Joshua Bell is an American Grammy Award-winning violinist and conductor.
In an experiment initiated by The Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten, Bell donned a baseball cap and played as an incognito busker at the Metro subway station L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C. On January 12, 2007.
The experiment was videotaped on hidden camera; of the 1,097 people who passed by, only seven stopped to listen to him, and only one recognized him. For his nearly 45-minute performance, Bell collected $32.17 from 27 passersby (excluding $20 from the passerby who recognized him).
Three days before, he earned considerably more playing the same repertoire at a concert where there were 100 dollar seats. Weingarten won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for his article on the experiment.