Two weeks ago we ran a story and video about an unidentified man playing a medley of Jewish songs on saxophone and clarinet in the Times Square subway station. At the time we didn't have any more information about him, but now we know the rest of the story, which we'll share with you.
He's Isaiah Richardson Jr., an alumnus of the Juilliard School, the High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts, the Clown Academy, and the United States Marine Corps Band. So what's he doing playing Jewish music in the subway?
Last November the New York Times ran a character study of Richardson, whose usual venue is on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
As Corey Kilgannon wrote in the Times,
He is there every afternoon in his tailcoat and tie, playing rousing saxophone for tips on the steps in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which are usually covered with tourists.
The musician, Isaiah Richardson Jr., 32, starts with some grandstanding — running, leaping and dancing while playing pop tunes — as a general crowd pleaser. Then comes his main repertory: anthems and tunes from dozens of countries.“Nothing works like playing something that people know,” said Mr. Richardson, who can play the national anthems of 50 countries and keeps a set of miniature national flags to wave and display as he performs them.He has become sharp at spotting nationalities, and like an expert fly-fisherman, can cast the appropriate song before a particular group of museum-goers who then tend to burst out in amazed laughter and pull out their cameras and a few bucks for Mr. Richardson.“It’s the element of surprise,” he said. “They think I’m some street musician and suddenly I start playing their anthem.”