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Joshua Bell

The poetic musicality of Joshua Bell has earned the American-born violinist a prominent position among the leading musicians of the world. As winner of the Seventeen Magazine/General Motors competition, he came to national attention at 14 years of age. His Philadelphia Orchestra debut that same year, followed by his Carnegie Hall debut, an Avery Fisher Career Grant and subsequent exclusive recording contract, created a sensation that rapidly spread throughout the music world. Today, at age 30, Joshua Bell has earned a reputation not only as a dynamic performer, but as a dedicated and thoughtful musician who has successfully bridged the gap from child prodigy to inspired and mature artist.

Joshua Bell's 1997-98 season focuses on extensive concert touring combined with involvement as Artistic Consultant for "The Red Violin", a new film by director Francois Gerard ("32 Short Films About Glenn Gould"). The film, to be released on Spring of 1998, features a score by renowned composer John Corigliano and traces the fictional history of a rare violin through three centuries. Mr. Bell served as artistic advisor, body double and the performing artist responsible for all on-screen violin sound. Additionally, Mr. Bell will play the world premiere of Corigliano's "The Red Violin Fantasy" with Robert Spano and the San Francisco Symphony on the West Coast and with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston, New York, Newark and Washington, D.C. He tours the United States with Christoph Eschenbach and the Houston Symphony, and Europe with Andrew Litton and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in performances of Samuel Barber's violin concerto. Other orchestral engagements include the Philadelphia Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and the Danish Radio Orchestra.

Last season marked the inauguration of Joshua Bell's first chamber music festival in London's Wigmore Hall. This season, Mr. Bell returns to Wigmore Hall with pianist Olli Mustonen, bassist Edgar Meyer, cellists Steven Isserlis and Gary Hoffman and the Orion String Quartet for performances featuring works of Martinu, Bartok, Kodaly, and Dvorak. Additional chamber music projects range from festivals in Salzburg, England and Edinburgh with Steven Isserlis and pianist Stephen Hough, to duo recitals with bassist Edgar Meyer in Illinois, and a trio concert with Mssrs. Mustonen and Isserlis at Lincoln Center in New York. Joshua Bell also tours in recital throughout Europe and North America.

Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Joshua Bell received his first violin at age five and became seriously committed to the instrument by age twelve when he had the privilege to meet renowned violinist and pedagogue Josef Gingold, who became his beloved teacher and mentor. In 1981, he made his highly acclaimed orchestral debut with Ricardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Since that time, Mr. Bell has performed with the world's leading symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra of London and London Symphony. He has had the opportunity to work with such conductors as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, John Eliot Gardiner, James Levine, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Yuri Temirkanov, and Franz Welser-Most.

Joshua Bell is interested in exploring the work of living composers and, in addition to the Corigliano fantasy, has performed the world premieres of two works written for him: a violin concerto by eminent British composer Nicholas Maw, and "Air" for violin and piano by American composer Aaron Jay Kernis. He is unique among his peers in that he has begun composing his own cadenzas for the major violin concertos. His cadenzas for the Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart violin concertos have received consistent praise from conductors and critics alike. He also enjoys chamber music collaboration and performs regularly with close friends and colleagues such as Pamela PAGE THREE Frank, Steven Isserlis, Olli Mustonen, Jon Kimura Parker, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the Orion String Quartet.

In October 1996, Joshua Bell signed an exclusive recording contract with Sony Classical. The first project for Sony is John Corigliano's "The Red Violin Fantasy", scheduled for release in Spring of 1998. Upcoming recordings include Nicholas Maw Violin Concerto and Vaughan Williams "The Lark Ascending" with Roger Norrington and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and a disc of Gershwin standards arranged for violin and orchestra conducted by John Williams.

From 1987 to 1996, Mr. Bell recorded for London/Decca records. Since that time, thirteen recordings have been released, the latest of which are the Barber and Walton violin concertos and Bloch's "Baal Shem" with David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, an album of Kreisler works for violin and piano, and a Brahms/Schumann concerto album with Christoph von Dohnanyi and the Cleveland Orchestra.

Joshua Bell has been featured on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson, CNN, "CBS This Morning," CNBC, and a 1993 "Live from Lincoln Center" broadcast on PBS. He is one of the first classical musicians to be the focus of a music video, which has been broadcast on VH1, Arts & Entertainment and Bravo television networks. Mr. Bell was the subject of a March 1995 documentary film presented on BBC's "Omnibus" and recently broadcast on Bravo, and was included in A&E's "Biography" of Mozart. He has been featured on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and in People Magazine, USA Today, New York, Vogue, Mirabella, Interview, Esquire, Strad, Strings and Classical Pulse magazines. He holds an Artist Diploma from Indiana University. Mr. Bell resides in New York City and his other interests include basketball, tennis, baseball, golf, chess and computers. He plays an Antonio Stradavari violin dated 1732 which is known as the "Tom Taylor."