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Biography
For over two decades, Joshua Bell has enchanted audiences worldwide with his breathtaking playing and tone of rare opulence. He came to national attention at the age of 14 in a highly acclaimed orchestral debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. A Carnegie Hall debut, the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, and a recording contract further confirmed his presence in the music world. Today he is equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra leader. His restless curiosity and multifaceted musical interests have taken him in exciting new directions that has earned him the rare title of “classical music superstar.” In addition to his concert career, Bell enjoys chamber music collaborations with artists such as Pamela Frank, Steven Isserlis and Edgar Meyer. He also enjoys occasional collaborations with artists outside the classical arena, having shared the stage with Josh Groban, James Taylor and Sting.

“Bell,” Gramophone stated simply, “is dazzling.”

Joshua Bell made his first recording at the age of 18. Since then he has fostered an extensive catalogue of classical recordings resulting in a distinctive and wide-ranging body of work.

From the classical repertoire, Bell has made critically acclaimed recordings for Sony Classical of the concertos of Beethoven and Mendelssohn both featuring his own cadenzas, Sibelius and Goldmark, as well as the Grammy Award winning Nicholas Maw concerto. His Grammy-nominated recording Gershwin Fantasy premiered a new work for violin and orchestra based on themes from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Its success led to a Grammy nominated all-Bernstein recording that included the premiere of the West Side Story Suite as well as a new recording of the composer’s Serenade. With the composer and double bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer, Bell appeared on the Grammy-nominated crossover recording Short Trip Home and a disc of concert works by Meyer and the 19th-century composer Giovanni Bottesini. Bell also collaborated with Wynton Marsalis on the Grammy-winning spoken word children’s album, Listen to the Storyteller and Bela Fleck’s Grammy Award winning Perpetual Motion. He has twice performed on the Grammy Awards telecast in recent years, performing music from Short Trip Home and West Side Story Suite.

Bell received the 2008 Academy of Achievement award for exceptional accomplishment in the arts. He is the past recipient of the Mercury Music Prize for the Maw concerto recording with Sir Roger Norrington and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Germany’s Echo Klassik for Sibelius/Goldmark concerto recording with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He received the Gramophone Award for his recording of the Barber and Walton violin concertos and Bloch’s Baal Shem.

With more than 30 CDs recorded, Bell’s performances for Sony Classical film soundtracks include the Classical Brit-nominated Ladies in Lavender and Academy Award-winning film Iris, in an original score by James Horner while appearing as himself in the film Music of the Heart starring Meryl Streep. Millions of people are just as likely to see him on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show, CBS’ “Sunday Morning” and the PBS programs Great Performances—Joshua Bell: West Side Story Suite from Central Park, Joshua Bell at the Penthouse—Live From Lincoln Center, Memorial Day Concert, Sesame Street and A&E’s Biography. He was one of the first classical artists to have a music video air on VH1, and he has been the subject of a BBC Omnibus documentary. Bell has been profiled in publications ranging from Newsweek to People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People issue, Gramophone.

Stated Strad: “Joshua Bell will be the one remembered in 50 years’ time.”

Bell and his two sisters grew up on a farm in Bloomington, Indiana. As a child, he indulged in many passions outside of music, becoming an avid computer game player and a competitive athlete. He placed fourth in a national tennis tournament at age 10 and still keeps his racquet close by. Bell received his first violin at age four after his parents, both psychologists by profession, noticed him plucking tunes with rubber bands he had stretched around the handles of his dresser drawers. By 12 he was serious about the instrument, thanks in large part to the inspiration of renowned violinist and pedagogue Josef Gingold, who had become his beloved teacher and mentor.

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. In ’05 he was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. Bell currently serves on the Artist Committee of the Kennedy Center Honors.

Joshua Bell plays the 1713 Gibson ex Huberman Stradivarius.
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