Musical flashmobs play Bolero and Waltz of the Flowers

UPDATE: If you click on this video link, you’ll go to a whole playlist of musical flashmobs (h/t: reader Malcolm)


I found these videos on YouTube and thought they were cool. Both involve classical musicians showing up in public venues to play familiar but lovely songs. In this first one, the Orchestra of Opera North appears in a Leeds shopping center to play Ravel’s Bolero. The audience forms rapidly, and they love it.

Great acoustics, too! (Note the scores hung on some musicians’ backs, clearly to help their compadres.)

Here are the YouTube notes on the second one:

Forty students from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance took a classical approach to the flashmob as they flashwaltzed Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers at the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower in Jerusalem. Doctors, patients and passers-by joined in the fun. The surprise concert was part of Good Deeds Day, an annual event that originated in Israel in 2007 and now takes place in over 50 countries worldwide. On this day volunteers reach out to the less fortunate and the vulnerable.

The Academy students enjoyed the day so much that they have decided to schedule regular concerts at the hospital.

These kids play up a storm. And there’s even a ballerina (remember that the song is from The Nutcracker).

How can you not love this stuff? How can anybody not stop in their tracks and be entranced by the music? I wish somebody would fund sporadic appearances of musicians in shopping centers and other places. I imagine every listener was in a good mood for the rest of the day.


  1. Barry Lyons
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Do you remember this Beethoven flashmob performance? You may have posted it years ago:

    • Geoff Toscano
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      I remember this one well. The only comment I’d make is that it was effectively a set performance with members of the public already primed and the whole thing tightly controlled (not a single independent upload to YouTube). Still terrific.

      • Posted February 2, 2019 at 3:58 am | Permalink

        It would appear that many of the full orchestra flashmobs are really publicity stunts. Not only are there many members of the public waiting but there are lots of serious cameras around too.

        • Dean Reimer
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

          I am certain the audio was recorded in a studio, too, but I still don’t care. I’m sure I’ve watched that more than any other YouTube video.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    So cool. Helps renew my faith in the human spirit (“faith” and “spirit” both being used in the figurative sense).

    That first tune makes for good schtupping music, according to Bo Derek in the movie 10, anyway. 🙂

    Sorry, it’s Friday.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      my faith in the human spirit (“faith” and “spirit” both being used in the figurative sense).

      I’m now trying to work out how to make literal human spirit. As in, human to sugar ; sugar to yeast to alcohol ; alcohol to distillery.
      Tincture of human on the other hand, is almost trivial.

  3. ursula goodenough
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Please post url’s for other good flashmobs (classical or otherwise).

    My favorite

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      The high school I went to would have a Christmas concert, and every year, as the grand finale, the choir would sing the “Hallelujah Chorus.” They’d invite any former choir members in the audience to come up and join them. This reminded me of that — although, gotta admit, a lot better voices here. 🙂

  4. Merilee
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Love the Beethoven Ode to Joy, and the Messiah. Cannot stand Bolero. For me it would stop any schtupping in its tracks 😝
    (Bad metaphor😬). These things are really fun but WHY does everyone have his or her phone out instead of just ENJOYing or, even better, singing along?

    • Posted February 1, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      I know! People were too busy recording the moment to enjoy the moment. I concur!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      You can’t stand Bolero? You must be in the lonely 1% 😉

      I find it hypnotic. Any time I hear it I’m compelled to stop and listen until the finish.


      • Merilee
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        Maybe because in college the girls upstairs played it over and over and over agsin🙉

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 1, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

          Not to get all Four Yorkshiremen about it, but you were LOOCKY to have ’em play “Bolero.” The guys upstairs in my dorm played Grand Funk Railroad over-and-over again! 🙂

          • Merilee
            Posted February 1, 2019 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            Although I did have to leave a concert of GFR at Berkeley Community Center in maybe 1971. It was incredibly LOUD, killing my eardrums, and my first time/last time date did not want to miss a moment to take me home, so had to call my roommate. Never had this problem at Stones/Neil Young/whatever concerts. I think the speakers were distorting the sound.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted February 1, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

              When I lived in Rarotonga for a couple of years, the teens next door would play some disco tune (Stayin Alive?) over and over and over again at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning when I was still trying to sleep. I think they were practising dance moves. Ever notice that disco has a particularly jerky and disturbing ‘beat’ to it? And lots of bass which goes straight through a pillow clamped desperately over your ears. My sole recourse was to fantasise kicking their door down and blasting their amplifier point-blank with a shotgun. Both barrels. (Not that I owned one).


    • mikeb
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 4:36 am | Permalink

      Bolero became an annoyance to me as well because it is so overplayed.

      Then I saw it performed live in Portland, Maine recently and it renewed my interest.

      Classical music MUST be seen and heard LIVE!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t even know that Ode to Joy had words to it. Messiah – I can hear there are words, but can’t tell the end of one word from the start of the next. Is it meant to be in English, or Latin?
      Thinking about it, the same can be said of most operas.

      • Merilee
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        Messiah: For the lord god omnipotent reighneth, hallelujah, hallelujah…

        Ode to Joy: Freude schöner Götterfunken,
        Tochter aus Elysium….

        I’ll spare you my vocalizations, but it’s not all that hard to understand/follow the words in opera once you get used to it. I watched Carmen in HD from the Met yesterday and find I know almost all the words. I do NOT, however, sing along during the performances at the risk of being throttled.
        Près des ramparts de Sevilllllllla🎶🎶

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          once you get used to it.

          Aye, that’d probably be the problem. Probably takes more than a couple of minutes a year.

          • Merilee
            Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

            Just like most everything else, it takes practice.

  5. Geoff Toscano
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Ah Bolero. Torvill and Dean 1984 Winter Olympics. Pure magical artistry.

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Dudley Moore and Bo Derek, 10, 1979 (it says here) – can it really be that long ago!

      • mikeb
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 4:37 am | Permalink

        That association–foul as it is–has been extinguished by seeing it performed live.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      I remember that; it was great. Ended up with one (or maybe both of ’em) lying flat on the ice, IIRC, Ranks right up there with Katerina Witt coming out in that leather outfit in ’88 and having a go at MJ’s “Bad.”

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Youtube has everything:


  6. darrelle
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely beautiful. Brought a tear to me eye. These are the kinds of things that make me think we just might make it.

    • nwalsh
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      That and Piano Man by Billy Joel 🙂

  7. Jenny Haniver
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    This doesn’t quite count because it was, may I say, orchestrated beforehand, though for many commuters, it must have been quite a surprise and might as well have been a one-man flash mob — Yo-Yo Ma, playing his cello in the Montreal subway last year

  8. CAS
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Great way to cheer up people having a hard time!

  9. eheffa
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    …And suddenly, the world is a better place!

  10. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    They even brought a harp?!

    (And had to wheel it in on a trolley).

    That’s serious heavy artillery.


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Bolero is, of course, ideal for such performances as the steady buildup of the music matches nicely with the progressive arrival of elements of the orchestra.


    • Merilee
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Hard to be stealthy with a harp🚶‍♀️

  11. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a Bolero flash mob in the station concourse of the Gare St Lazare in Paris. The one time I visited that station, there was an upright piano set up at that exact spot and someone playing classical music on it.

    I also once came across a seven-piece orchestra busking in the labyrinthine passages of a Metro station (Bastille? Republique? Dunno, I’d have to search my files). I love Paris!


  12. Jon Gallant
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    At the risk of dampening the good cheer, let me recall a related event with different implications. Just about a dozen years ago, Joshua Bell played Bach for 45 minutes at a busy Metro stop in Washington DC. Mr. Bell is one of the best violinists there is, and one of the pieces he played—the Chaconne from the violin partita #2—is arguably THE pinnacle of European serious music. Almost all the Metro commuters hurried by and paid almost no attention. Complete story at: .

    • Merilee
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      I will be seeing the wonderful Mr. Bell live in concert in Toronto on the 12th. Seen him several times before😻. I remember that sad/disgraceful metro story. But, oh, if it had been a Kardashian or Beyoncé, look out!
      On a similar note, when I go to the Toronto International Film Festival every Sept., it’s amazing how many people just seem interested in knowing how many movie stars I saw, rather than being interested in the movies themselves. (Though I wouldn’t cover my eyes if the likes of Idris Elba or Javier Bardem happened to walk by…)

    • mikeb
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 4:48 am | Permalink

      This whole thing is an irritating farce that gives people an excuse to pontificate about the coarseness of contemporary tastes. The claim may even be true, but this is not the way to test it.

      Who the hell is going to pay attention to anything at a “busy Metro stop in Washington DC”?

      Even a pop star singing there would probably go largely unnoticed

      • mikeb
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 5:01 am | Permalink

        I should add that I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Metro stations in DC over the years on visits. There is always someone busquing there.

  13. Steve Gerrard
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Peer Gynt, Morning, on the Copenhagen Metro:

    • Merilee
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      Presumably during morning rush hour😻

  14. Posted February 2, 2019 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    The YouTube video has 63k likes and 1.8k dislikes. Seriously, why would so many people vote a dislike to a piece of well-played music.

  15. Monika
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Oh yes, more handmade music in shopping centers, please!
    I remember one group of great professional musicians from the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra, 7 brass instruments. They had rearranged some classics for brass only (4 seasons, Zauberflöte, and more). Sadly that was some 10 years ago, but those were nice lunch breaks. Those guys spent their orchestra summer break in Hamburg’s main shopping area to earn some extra money. And yes, they wore tuxes.

  16. Jenny Hoffman
    Posted February 4, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Thank you, a smile to start a dreary Monday morning! Especially when the couple started waltzing.

Post a Comment

%d bloggers like this: