Bach on streets for cause of note

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 August, 2007, 12:00am

Keep an ear out for the sweet sound of Bach if you are walking through the city today.

If you happen to hear it above the roar of traffic, it is likely to be coming from a 250-year-old violin played by internationally acclaimed musician David Juritz, who will be busking on the streets of Hong Kong for four days.

But Juritz seeks more than a dollar or two. Propelled by a mid-life crisis and a desire to 'do something', he is in Hong Kong as part of a global tour to raise awareness and funds for Musequality, a music charity for children in the developing world.

Juritz left his job with the London Mozart Players and began his odyssey in early June. He says he has found it challenging, yet rewarding.

'I've spent the best part of 25 years inside concert halls and one gets very used to having an audience waiting for you,' he says. 'But now I have to go out on the street and find a spot to play. Sometimes people stop and listen, and other times they just walk on past.'

One experience illustrating the stark turn Juritz's life has taken occurred outside a music hall in Zurich. On his previous visit to the city, he led the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, but this time, he found himself on the front steps as a group of amateur musicians played inside. The audience did not even pause to hear him play on their way in or out.

'That was a great experience for me because that is what happens every day to these marginalised kids who feel they have something to offer but are just not given a chance,' he said.

Juritz is not sure exactly where he will play in Hong Kong, but says perhaps beneath some overpasses in Central or outside Stanley Market. Meanwhile, he has been frantically trying to secure a bed during his visit.

If you don't happen to see him around town and would like to donate, you can bid for a private concert on eBay. The winning bidder in Melbourne, Australia, secured a private show for about HK$3,000.

As of last night, there were no bids, but Juritz hopes that will change when audiences hear him.

Funds from the auction will benefit the Tender Talents Magnet School for Aids orphans and other disadvantaged children in Kampala, Uganda.