This viral video of a street artist playing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on a glass harp starts out as just kind of a neat thing to get to see and hear. At minute 2:39, it zooms past “just kind of neat” right into mind-blowing territory!
There wasn’t any information about the musician in the video or on Youtube, so I did some digging. It is possible that this is Alexander Zoltán who was born in Prague, Czech Republic. For a while in the 1980s Zoltán lived in Australia, and that’s where he built his first glass harp.
According to Alexander’s website, the first glass harp appeared around 1730 in South Germany. Mozart composed pieces to be played on glass harp, and Benjamin Franklin built a more sophisticated version Franklin called a “glass harmonica.”
The glasses are tuned directly in front of his audience. Alexander runs his fingers around the crystal rims as he adds and removes water using a dipper until he finds the right pitch.
This may be a completely different guy, though.
The musician in the video looks younger than Alexander Zoltan, and his glass harp table looks different, but on Zoltan’s website there are a couple of photos of Zoltan that look like this guy. On the other hand, the musician playing “Hallelujah” in this video has thicker hair, and the video is more recent than photos on Zoltan’s site.
If you’re a better Web detective than I am and figure out this isn’t Zoltan, skip down and leave a comment with any details you uncover.
Whether it’s Alexander Zoltan or a mystery musician, it’s by far my favorite viral video I’ve seen this weekend.