Joshua Bell

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About Joshua Bell

Since making his professional debut in 1981 aged 14, playing a series of concerts with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra—the youngest player ever to do so—violinist Joshua Bell has become one of the most recognizable figures in classical music. Media-savvy and charismatically photogenic, Bell has worked alongside popular music legends James Taylor and Sting, produced one of the first classical music videos to air on VH1, and in 2007 made a powerful sociological point when he donned sneakers and a baseball cap and busked in a Washington subway station for over an hour to a total audience of seven. Born in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1967, Bell was a typical all-American boy, spending much of his childhood playing baseball and tennis (at national level). It was contact with legendary violinist pedagogue Josef Gingold that at age 12 finally persuaded him to focus exclusively on the violin. Bell’s impactful, intensely mobile playing style soon won him a devoted following, whether easily negotiating Wieniawski’s ultra-virtuosic Second Concerto Op. 22 (1862), or directing (since 2011) the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields as principal violinist. Blessed with an unusually supple left hand; an alluring, gently cushioned tone; and captivating interpretive flair, Bell’s many recordings for Decca and Sony are typified by a scintillating 2001 account of excerpts from Bernstein’s West Side Story (premiered 1957).

Bloomington, IN, United States
December 9, 1967

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