Joshua Bell is a rare musician- one of the few, the proud, the underappreciated- who has successfully transformed from a child prodigy into one of the finest musicians on the planet today.
Joshua Bell was born in Bloomington, Indiana in 1967 and studied under the renowned violinist and teacher Josef Gingold. He came to national attention in 1981 as a winner of the Seventeen Magazine/General Motors talent competition, and as one of the youngest violinists ever to solo with the Philadelphia Orchestra, under the baton of Riccardo Muti. In 1985, he made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Saint Louis Symphony under Leonard Slatkin. Soon after, he won an Avery Fisher Careeer Grant and began to make his first recordings under the London/Decca label. Since then, he has worked with the world's leading symphony orchestras and with conductors such as Herbert Bloomstedt, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Seiji Ozawa, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Anatal Dorati, Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Tilson Thomas, Charles Dutoit, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Roger Norrington, James Levine, John Eliot Gardiner, John Williams... you get the idea.
He has made recordings of those famous violin concertos by Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Bruch, Lalo, Prokofiev, Barber, Walton, Mozart, Saint-Saens, and Wieniawski, and recordings of violin sonatas by Franck, Debussy, Faure, and Prokofiev. In addition, he has recorded a virtuoso programme with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Andrew Litton, an album of works by Kreisler, and a number of chamber music CD's. He also recorded music by Wynton Marsilis for the Grammy award-winning album Listen to the Storyteller.
He's also had a hand in movie music: he served as body double, artistic director, and supplier of all onscreen solo violin music for Francois Girard's film The Red Violin; he also has a performance cameo in the new Disney movie Music of the Heart.
He's crossed genre lines and made a recording of Gershwin arrangements under the Sony Classical label. Also out under the Sony Classical label is "Short Trip Home", his collaboration with Edgar Meyer and bluegrass greats Mike Marshall and Sam Bush, playing original and genre-defying music composed by Meyer. Aaron Jay Kernis composed his Air for Violin with Bell's performance persona in mind. His recording of a concerto written for him by Nicholas Maw is now currently in stores, and the Sibelius and Goldmark concertos are out as well. Meyer will also collaborate with Bell on the Bottesini Grand Duo... hopefully. Other possible projects include re-recording the Brahms, recording the Beethoven, the Bartok, and even a Bernstein CD featuring the Serenade and a suite of West Side Story music.
One cool thing in particular that sets him apart from other violinists is the fact that he does his own cadenzas for a number of the aforementioned pieces (including those on the bluegrass fusion and Gershwin recordings), and has recieved praise for them from critics and conductors alike.
He gives a whole slew of concerts all over the world (well, we've got unfufilled requests for appearances in Düsseldorf and Brisbane) every year and has participated in all the big-name music festivals- Spoleto (both USA and European), Mostly Mozart, Marlboro, Casals, Schleswig-Holstein... the list goes on. He's even started his own winter chamber music festival at London's Wigmore Hall, one of his favorite venues. His talent has brought him multiple Grammy nominations and and a Grammophone Concerto of the Year Award for his Barber/Walton CD, articles in magazines like People, Time, New York, USA Today, Interview, Esquire, Mirabelle, Newsweek, Strad, Strings, Grammophone, and Classical Pulse, as well as an article of dubious taste and ambiguous praise in Toast Magazine. In TV, he's had biodocs done on him by KQED (San Francisco) and Omnibus; he's been featured on "Evening at the Pops", as well as A&E's biography on Mozart, "Good Morning America", "The Tonight Show", "The Martin Short Show", as a guest panelist on "Politically Incorrect" and on national tv in Japan. He's also been on NPR, and on the PBS Gershwin tribute video, S'wonderful. September 1999's Glamour Magazine named him one of the "Men of the Millenium". He's even been declared one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People Magazine.
More recently, he's been on NPR's "A Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keillor, played violin for Telly on Sesame Street, and performed for the Grammys 2002.
And then there's this:
...somewhere in the archives of VH1 is a dusty tape containing his music video collaboration with none other than... Karen Black.
Josh currently plays the 1713 "ex-Huberman" Stradivarius.
Read More on Josh at the Articles Page