Sound of Charlotte Blog

6 Things about Joshua Bell

Get to know superstar violinist Joshua Bell, who joins us for Opening Night on September 21.

He was a child prodigy.
Joshua Bell was born in Bloomington, Indiana, on December 9, 1967 and began taking violin at age 4. His parents had noticed that he had stretched rubber bands across the handles of his dresser drawer to try to replay music he had heard her play on the piano.
 
A teenage symphonic debut.
By 14 Bell had appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Riccardo Muti. He studied violin at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and went on to receive an Artist Diploma in Violin Performance from Indiana University in 1989. By 17 he had debuted at Carnegie Hall debut with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
 
A champion of new works.
Like the Charlotte Symphony, Bell is a fan of promoting new works. Having premiered Nicholas Maw's violin concerto, which is dedicated to Bell, in 1993, he won a Grammy Award for his recording. He will kick off our 2018-19 season at Opening Night, where he'll perform the Brahms Violin Concerto and we'll debut a commissioned work by Nkeiru Okoye in celebration of Charlotte at 250.
 
Fate and a 300-year old Stradivarius.
Bell's instrument is a storied 300-year old Stradivarius violin, the "Gibson ex Huberman," made in 1713. The instrument survived war, theft, and much more, and we'll hear it live on September 21. Read the story in Bell's own words, here.
 
Oscars, etc.
Bell performed the violin solos for the Oscar-winning soundtrack for 'The Red Violin' and was also featured in  film scores including  'Ladies in Lavender',  'Iris' and 'Defiance'.
 
A man of other talents.
On May 26, 2011, Bell was named Music Director of the British music ensemble, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Selected by the orchestra members, he is the only other person to hold this position following the great Sir Neville Marriner, who founded the orchestra in 1958.

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