Born Dec. 9, 1967 in Bloomington, Indiana
Joshua Bell is one of the world’s outstanding violinists. As a child prodigy, at age 4 he began to study violin, debuting with the Philadelphia Orchestra when he was only 14. In 1985 he made his Carnegie Hall debut with the St. Louis Symphony. He has continued to expand his worldwide career as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra conductor, with a busy schedule that includes performances, recording, and film work. He also devotes time to sharing his love of classical music with disadvantaged youth, and was honored for his efforts in 2009 by Education Through Music. He can be seen in the film Ladies in Lavender, where he plays an injured Polish violinist washed ashore into the care of two English spinsters Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. In Music of the Heart with Meryl Streep, Bell plays himself in this heartwarming, true story of helping to save an embattled string program in the New York public schools. In Red Violin, he performed the violin works in the incredible soundtrack which won an Oscar for best score. (How Bell’s own Stradivarius came into his life is equally intriguing and strikingly similar to the violin’s odyssey in the Red Violin. Read the theft-ridden story of his violin on his website)
One of Joshua Bell’s most unusual performances came in a busy Washington D.C. subway station, where he participated in a social experiment. He played for 45 minutes during morning rush hour, as commuters hurried by. Only a 3-yr.-old seemed eager to listen. What a sad commentary! The busy crowd failed to pause long enough to listen even briefly to one of the world’s greatest violinists. A few tossed a little money in the hat, but most rushed by without a glance. Read the Washington Post’s unbelievable story and watch and listen to the video of his “subway concert.”
Also see Joshua Bell in THE BACH PROJECT DVD to be released Jan. 29, 2010. Hear him play Bach’s Chaconne, along with narrative on the life of Bach.