“Vivaldi’s Four Seasons echoes through the Second Empire architecture of City Hall. Tourists and commuters are surprised to find that the nearly 300-year-old piece is being played by a youth of 18,” writes Sofiya Ballin in Thursday’s (10/2) Philadelphia Inquirer. “For six years, Sean Bennett has been playing on the street four times a week. He practices a minimum of three hours a day.… Bennett is in his last year at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts and his fourth year as a member of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra…. Playing for the public, Bennett says, has thickened his skin. He remembers playing at 15th and Walnut Streets when an older man asked, ‘How does a black man play the violin?’ Bennett was baffled. And angry. He kept playing.… When, on separate occasions, R&B/neo-soul singer Jill Scott and Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson, famed drummer for the Roots, walked by, acknowledged him, and contributed money, he was floored. ‘It was great,’ says Bennett.… Bennett has numerous performing-arts colleges on his wish list, with the Curtis Institute of Music as his top choice…. In the meantime, he reaps his chief reward: to see people ‘just stopping and telling me I’m doing great.’ ” 

Posted October 3, 2014