Joshua David Bell (born December 9, 1967) is an American Grammy award-winning violinist and conductor. He plays the Gibson Stradivarius.
Bell after a performance with the San Francisco Symphony, 2010
|Born||December 9, 1967|
|Occupation(s)||Violinist and conductor|
Early life and educationEdit
Bell was born in Bloomington, Indiana, to Shirley Bell, a therapist, and Alan P. Bell, a psychologist, Professor Emeritus of Indiana University, in Bloomington, and a former Kinsey researcher. His father is of Scottish descent, and his mother is Jewish (his maternal grandfather was born in Israel and his maternal grandmother was from Minsk).
Bell began playing the violin at the age of four after his mother discovered that her son had taken rubber bands from around the house and stretched them across the handles of his nine dresser drawers to pluck out music he had heard her play on the piano. His parents got a scaled-to-size violin for their then five-year-old son and started giving him lessons. A bright student, Bell took to the instrument but lived an otherwise normal midwest Indiana life playing video games and excelling at sports, namely tennis and bowling, even placing in a national tennis tournament at the age of ten.
Bell studied as a child first under Donna Bricht, widow of Indiana University music faculty member Walter Bricht. His second teacher was Mimi Zweig, and then he switched to the violinist and pedagogue Josef Gingold after Bell's parents assured Gingold that they were not interested in pushing their son in the study of the violin but simply wanted him to have the best teacher for his abilities. Satisfied that the boy was living a normal life, Gingold took Bell on as his student. By age 12, Bell was serious about the instrument, thanks in large part to Gingold's inspiration.
At the age of 14, Bell appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. He studied the violin at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and graduated from Bloomington High School North in 1984. In 1989, Bell received an Artist Diploma in Violin Performance from Indiana University. His alma mater also honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Service Award only two years after his graduation. He has been named an "Indiana Living Legend" and received the Indiana Governor's Arts Award.
Bell made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1985, at age 17, with the St. Louis Symphony. He has since performed with many of the world's major orchestras and conductors. As well as the standard concerto repertoire, Bell has performed new works. Nicholas Maw's violin concerto is dedicated to Bell, who premiered it in 1993 and won a Grammy Award for his recording of the piece. He performed the solo part on John Corigliano's Oscar-winning soundtrack for the film The Red Violin and was also featured in Ladies in Lavender. Bell made an appearance in the movie Music of the Heart, a story about the power of music, with other notable violinists.
Bell's instrument is a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin called the Gibson ex Huberman, which was made in 1713 during what is known as Antonio Stradivari's "Golden Era". This violin had been stolen twice from the previous owner, Bronisław Huberman; the last time the thief confessed to the act on his deathbed. Bell had held and played the violin, and its owner at the time, violinist Norbert Brainin, jokingly told Bell that the violin could be his for four million dollars. On 3 August 2001, Bell was in London to perform at The Proms, and stopped by J & A Beare before the concert. There, he learned that the violin was there, and about to be sold to a German industrialist to become part of a collection. Bell played this violin at that Proms concert that same evening. He later sold his previous violin, the Tom Taylor Stradivarius, for a little more than two million dollars and made the purchase of the Gibson ex Huberman for a little under the four million dollar asking price. The story of the theft, return, and subsequent acquisition by Bell is told in the 2013 documentary The Return of the Violin, directed by Haim Hecht. Bell's first recording made with the Gibson ex Huberman was Romance of the Violin (for Sony Classical Records) in 2003.
Bell has served an artistic partner for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra from 2004 until 2007, and as a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He also serves on the artists' selection committee for the Kennedy Center Honors and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Bell was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize on April 10, 2007, at Lincoln Center in New York City. The prize is given once every few years to classical instrumentalists for outstanding achievement. On May 3, 2007, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music announced that Bell had joined the faculty as a senior lecturer.
In May 2011, Bell was named the new Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields (ASMF). Bell has recorded commercially with the ASMF for the Sony Classical label. In July 2017, the ASMF announced the extension of Bell's contract through 2020, an additional three years from his previous contract extension. Bell and the orchestra won the 2017 Helpmann Award for Best Individual Classical Music Performance.
In 2013, Bell accompanied Scarlett Johansson in the song "Before My Time". Written by J. Ralph for the documentary Chasing Ice, the song received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
In other media, Bell played himself in three episodes of Mozart in the Jungle in 2014, 2015, and 2016: the pilot episode, "Touché Maestro, Touché" and "Creative Solutions for Creative Lives". In 2016, he played a cameo role on the penultimate musical episode of Royal Pains. He also appeared as himself in episode 8 ("Quacktice Makes Perfect") of the 2017 Netflix original series Julie's Greenroom.
Washington Post experimentEdit
In an experiment initiated by The Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten, Bell donned a baseball cap and played as an incognito busker at the Metro subway station L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C. on January 12, 2007. The experiment was videotaped on hidden camera; of the 1,097 people who passed by, only seven stopped to listen to him, and only one recognized him. For his nearly 45-minute performance, Bell collected $32.17 from 27 passersby (excluding $20 from the passerby who recognized him). Three days before, he earned considerably more playing the same repertoire at a concert. Weingarten won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for his article on the experiment. The Washington Post posted the video on YouTube and a feature-length documentary, Find Your Way: A Busker's Documentary, chronicled Bell's experience.
Bell resides in the Gramercy Park neighborhood in Manhattan, New York. He has three sisters. Bell and a former girlfriend, Lisa Matricardi, have a son, Josef, born in 2007, and twin sons born in 2010. As of 2017, he is in a relationship with opera singer Larisa Martinez.
|Year||Album||Billboard Classical||Billboard 200|
|1988||Bruch Mendelssohn Violin Concertos, London Records||—||—|
|1989||Fauré Debussy Franck Violin Sonatas with Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Decca Records||—||—|
|1990||Presenting Joshua Bell, Polygram Records||—||—|
|1991||Chausson Concerto, Ravel Piano Trio, London Records||—||—|
|1992||Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No. 3 / Chausson: Poeme, London Records||—||—|
|1995||Prokofiev: Violin Concertos & Sonatas, London Records||—||—|
|1995||Brahms / Schumann Violin Concertos, London Records||—||—|
|1996||The Kreisler Album, London Records||—||—|
|1997||Barber / Walton/ Bloch Violin Concertos, Decca Records||—||—|
|1997||Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 2, London Records||—||—|
|1999||Maw Violin Concertos, Sony Classical||—||—|
|1999||Gershwin Fantasy, Sony Classical||—||—|
|2000||Sibelius & Goldmark: Violin Concertos, Sony Classical||—||—|
|2000||Short Trip Home, with Edgar Meyer, Sam Bush, Mike Marshall, Sony Classical||7||—|
|2001||Bernstein West Side Story Suite, Sony Classical||3||—|
|2002||Beethoven & Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos, Sony Classical||18||—|
|2004||Romance of the Violin, Sony Classical||1||176|
|2005||Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Op. 35; Melodie; Danse Russe from Swan Lake (Act III), Sony Classical||2||—|
|2006||Voice of the Violin, Sony||1||—|
|2007||Corigliano The Red Violin, Sony||1||—|
|2007||The Essential Joshua Bell, Sony BMG Masterworks||19||—|
|2008||Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, Sony BMG Masterworks||1||134|
|2009||Bruch, Mendelssohn, Mozart Violin Concertos (reissues), Decca||9||—|
|2009||The Best of Joshua Bell, Sony Masterworks||12||—|
|2009||At Home with Friends, Sony Masterworks
with Chris Botti, Kristin Chenoweth, Regina Spektor, Anoushka Shankar, Frankie Moreno, and Sting
|2012||French Impressions, Sony Masterworks||1||139|
|2013||Beethoven: Symphonies Nos.4 &7, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Sony Masterworks||1||—|
|2014||Bach, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Sony Classical||—||—|
|2016||For the Love of Brahms, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Classical||—||—|
- Chasing Ice Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 2012
- The Flowers of War Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 2012: Joshua Bell, solo violin
- Angels & Demons Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 2009
- Defiance Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 2008
- Ladies in Lavender Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 2005: Joshua Bell, solo violin
- Iris Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 2001: Joshua Bell, solo violin
- The Red Violin, Joshua Bell, solo Violin
- Robinson, George (October 12, 2006). "Violinist Joshua Bell walks in the footsteps of masters". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
- Joshua Bell to return home for benefit performance. Indiana University Media Relations. Retrieved January 28, 2007.
- The Univee, yearbook, 1978–9
- "Music: The Teacher, The Lesson". Bloomington Herald-Times, January 15, 1989.
- BHSN Yearbook, 1984.
- Gene Weingarten, "Pearls Before Breakfast" The Washington Post, April 8, 2007 Page W10. Archived June 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- Joshua Bell (January 26, 2017). "Joshua Bell: Here's the story behind my very famous, once-stolen violin". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
- "Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, c. 1732, the 'Tom Taylor'" Archived February 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, accessed October 2, 2013
- Andrew Druckenbrod (April 11, 2013). "Joshua Bell treasures the Stradivarius at center of 'Return of the Violin'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
- E-strings for the future musician. BBC News, July 18, 2002. Retrieved January 28, 2007.
- Violinist Bell wins $75,000 Fisher Prize. CNN News, April 8, 2007. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
- Joshua Bell to join IU Jacobs School of Music faculty
- "Joshua Bell – Senior Lecturer in Music (Violin; Chamber Music)"
- "Joshua Bell is the new music director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields", Gramophone, May 27, 2011. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
- "Joshua Bell Named Music Director of Academy of St. Martin in the Fields" by Rory Williams, Strings Magazine (May 27, 2011
- Melissa Block (February 15, 2013). "From Bow To Baton: Violinist Joshua Bell Conducts Beethoven". National Public Radio - All Things Considered. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
- "Academy of St Martin in the Fields Music Director Joshua Bell renews contract for a further three years" (PDF) (Press release). Academy of St Martin in the Fields. July 27, 2017. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
- "Helpmann Awards 2017 winners: Kosky's Saul and Belvoir's The Drover's Wife dominate" by Hannah Francis, The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 July 2017
- Carlson, Erin (February 20, 2013). "Oscars 2013: Best Song Contender J. Ralph on Scarlett Johansson's 'World-Class' Singing Voice". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
- "Joshua Bell". IMDb.com. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- "Grammy Winning Violinist Joshua Bell Guest-Stars on TV's Royal Pains", Jacobs School of Music, 20 June 2016
- Howard Kurtz (April 8, 2008). "The Post Wins 6 Pulitzer Prizes". The Washington Post. p. A01. Retrieved February 24, 2009.
- Barbara and David P. Mikkelson. "Bell Curved" Snopes; January 6, 2009
- Video: "Stop and Hear the Music". The Washington Post. April 10, 2007. Retrieved February 17, 2012. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Find Your Way: A Busker's Documentary on IMDb
- "Alan P. Bell, 70, Researcher Of Influences on Homosexuality", obituary by Carmel McCoubrey, The New York Times, May 24, 2002
- "Joshua Bell: The lad with the strad grows up" by Peter Culshaw, The Daily Telegraph, February 19, 2009
- "A touring Joshua Bell sustained by thoughts of home" by Greg Stepanich, The Miami Herald, January 20, 2011
- "Joshua Bell Tells All" by Charles Donelan, Santa Barbara Independent, February 14, 2013
- "The music man: Josh Bell at mid-career" by Anne Midgette, The Washington Post, February 6, 2017
- At Home with Friends at AllMusic
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Joshua Bell.|
- Official website
- Joshua Bell at AllMusic
- Joshua Bell on IMDb
- Joshua Bell on IMG Artists, General Management
- "Bell Man", by Mandy Katz; in-depth profile in moment magazine
- Interview on The Diane Rehm Show radio program
- Recording of Bell's performance in L'Enfant Plaza
- Bach & friends Documentary
- Classical Archives interview