Joshua Bell: Cell Phones Are a ‘Huge Annoyance’ in Concerts

Above: Joshua Bell’s now-famous 2007 performance in the Washington, D.C. Metro.

If you’ve been to a classical music concert in the last decade, then you’ve probably fallen victim to the distractions of someone else’s cell phone. Performers, of course, aren’t immune from those distractions, and recently one top-drawer classical musician spoke out about them.

With characteristic understatement, globetrotting, subway-busking concert violinist Joshua Bell recently told USA Today in a video-recorded interview that, from his performer’s perspective, cell phones in classical music concerts are “a huge annoyance” and that “it can really ruin the atmosphere when a phone goes off.”

Bell isn’t completely tech averse, though. He says some of his musical collaborators read their music from tablet computers while they perform. But he also says that classical music concerts should still offer people a chance to get away from technology.

“Generally, the music that we play and what we do, it doesn’t use technology so much,” Bell said. “I think it should be a place where people could put that away.”

View video: Joshua Bell: How Tech Changed Classical Music (USA Today)

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