The Sunday Magazine

The Maestro in the subway

On September 30th, 2014, hundreds of people crammed into a crowded Washington subway station to hear Joshua Bell, one of the world's best violinists, play a free concert - underground. Seven years ago when he did the same thing, it went a little differently....
Joshua Bell, one of the world's finest violinists, performs on Sept. 30, 2014, at Union Station in Washington. Bell will appear on the NAC stage in October, 2016. ( AP Photo/Molly Riley)

On September 30th, 2014, hundreds of people crammed into a crowded Washington subway station to hear Joshua Bell, one of the world's best violinists, play a free concert - underground. Seven years ago when he did the same thing, it went a little differently.

On January 12, 2007, Bell - in a baseball cap and jeans -  took up his position beside a garbage can and began to play his 3 million dollar Stradivarius. Almost no one stopped to listen. The only exception seemed to be small children - who would try to slow down and hear the music.

The incident inspired Kathy Stinson to write a children's picture book, The Man with the Violin, which won the 2014 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award.

Our documentary tells the story of that first subway concert through the voices of Joshua Bell, Kathy Stinson, and some children who enjoyed her book.

To find out more, visit CBC Books.

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