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Karen Allendoerfer

Viola/cello duo busking in the Harvard Square T station

April 24, 2007 at 2:13 PM

I missed the early bus this morning, which is dangerous, because the next one is really unreliable. Sometimes it's 15 or 20 minutes late. Today was one of those days. So I got to the Harvard Square T station almost a full half hour after I normally get there on my way to work.

Instead of the amplified flamenco guitar guy who I usually see there, there were two young guys playing traditional acoustic viola and cello in that spot. No amplifier, just the two of them, their chairs, and their music stand. The cellist was an adult and seemed more experienced, the violist might have been a student or even the cellist's younger brother, he looked 15 or 16 at most. They played with a lot of verve and enthusiasm (or maybe it was nerves). Their intonation was a little shaky in places. I didn't recognize the piece, it had a sort-of gypsy-ish quality and was very fast, but I only got to hear them for about 2 minutes and then the train came, and since I was already late for work because of the bus, I had to get on it.

If this was another experiment to see if anyone would stop and there's a record on camera, they'll see me there, looking intently, first trying to identify if the smaller instrument is a violin or a viola and then trying to figure out what the piece is. And then they'll see another person dropping a bill into the viola case before he gets on the train.

I hope they come back.

From Donna Clegg
Posted on April 24, 2007 at 3:26 PM
I'm going to Bost in a few weeks - hope they are still busking!! I'll write a busker sighting blog.
From Man Wong
Posted on April 24, 2007 at 5:21 PM
Well, I guess it was not Joshua Bell then. ;-)

One time at my home subway station, a trio of older amateur players were busking for fun. They noticed that I was probably lugging a violin and invited me to join them. I was running rather late to work and had only just started to learn, so had to decline. If I come across them again (and am not in a rush for work), maybe I will join them for some fun though it would have to be some rather simple pieces for this amateur beginner. :-p


From Yixi Zhang
Posted on April 25, 2007 at 3:05 AM
Funny, I was a bit late to work this morning as well (I walk to work) and, as one of those days, I had my violin with me because I'd have my violin lesson after work. I didn't see any busker though, too early in the morning for this quiet town, but I wonder if I would stop and play along had there been a group playing the kind of music that I could join in. I might, if I don't have a 9 am meeting waiting for me.

Here in Victoria, BC, we get quite a few buskers in the summer. Once in a while, I hear some really good violin playing in the afternoon or weekends. Now I'll pay more attention when I walk by, as you never know, it could be Bell, or better, ASM for a change:)

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