Joshua Bell Biography
The Making of a Violin Virtuoso - His Childhood and Violin Training:
- Joshua Bell was born in 1967, in Bloomington, Indiana, USA.
- His parents were both psychologists and his father, Dr Alan Bell, specialises in Human Sexuality in the University of Indiana.
- Young Joshua Bell displayed musical talent even at the whee age of three, when he used to stretch rubber bands across the knobs on his dresser drawer to make various pitches.
- He was first introduced to the violin at age 5, mainly because his father had an interest in the instrument.
- His mother was very involved in his music, and often accompanied him on the piano during practise.
- At age 11, he enrolled at the Meadowmount School, a string camp once attended by other great luminaries such as Ithzak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman.
- At the camp, he was tutored by the famous pedagogues, Ivan Galamian and Josef Gingold.
- During his time at the camp, young Joshua would feel too shy to interact with other students and practised eight hours a day on the violin.
- Josef Gingold, who was coincidently based in the same town as Joshua Bell's home town, continued to give the young violinist lessons at the Indiana University School of Music.
- He almost "blew" his first recital for Gingold because the day before, he'd been out playing with a boomerang that had returned to strike him in the chin, requiring stitches.
- Joshua Bell developed his interest in video games at a young age and he would spend hours at the Bloomington amusement arcade instead of attending music classes.
- He was an avid tennis player, and at age 10 he won a statewide competition for playing Tennis.
Musical Career - The Virtuoso Cruises:
- Began touring at the age of 17.
- He tours extensively world wide, performing over 100 concerts a year.
- In London, Joshua Bell is the founder and participant of a yearly Chamber Music Festival held at Wigmore Hall.
- He has joined forces with many great musicians, conductors and orchesters in the world, including cellist Yo Yo Ma, pianist Jean Yves Thibaudet, cellist Steven Iserlis, violinist Pamela Frank, violinist Ithak Perlman, conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor Seiji Ozawa, and various world class orchestras such as the London Symphony and the Philharmonia orchestra.
- In his extensive discography list, he has ventured into musical fields other than classical, recording Bluegrass music with bassist Edgar Meyer, mandolinist Sam Bush and guitarist Mike Marshall.
- He has also recorded "Gershwin Fantasy", where he premiered Alexander Courage's "Gershwin Fantasy - Fantasy on Porgy and Bess for violin and orchestra".
- Mr Bell has written highly acclaimed cadenzas for the Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart violin concertos, as well as for the Gershwin Fantasy.
- He was part of the creative process for his Gershwin album.
- In the Short Trip Home album, Joshua Bell was also the composer for his solo part in Edgar Meyer's "Death by Triple Fiddle".
- He was involved as a soloist in a children's album titled "Listen to the Story Teller" with music composed by Wynton Marsalis.
- Joshua Bell is very interested in modern day composers and has premiered works such as "Air" by Aron Kernis, "The Red Violin Chaconne" by John Corigliano and a violin concerto commissioned to him by Nicholas Maw (in which he was asked to be an advisor of the composition).
- In 1997 he was involved in as a soloist and artistic adviser for the soundtrack of the film, "The Red Violin". He also acted as a body double for the lead actor and appeared in a cameo role.
- He also appears on the soundtrack of the movie, "Music of the Heart", playing the Suzuki transcription of Bach's Double Concerto with Itzahk Perlman, Mike O'Connor and Isaac Stern. Bell also appeared in a cameo role as himself.
- He sometimes travels to schools to promote music, and have given master classes at the Royal College of Music in London as a visiting professor (Joshua Bell Hon RAM)
- Each year Joshua Bell is involved in "Classical Agasinst AIDS" charity functions.
Tremendous Achievements - The Virtuoso Soars:
- In 1981, at age 14 he won the Seventeen/General Motors competition, playing Mozart's Violin Concerto no.3, which brought him to national attention.
- In the same year, he won the Avery Fisher career grant and made his first debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Roccado Mutti, in the prestigious Carnegie Hall.
- His Decca recording of the Barber/Walton Violin Concertos won an award at the 1998 Gramophone Awards.
In 1998 and 1999, Joshua Bell was nominated for a place in the Grammy Awards.
- In 2000, armed with is fiddle and fiery solo part, Joshua performed "Death by Triple Fiddle" with the Short Trip Home gang on the Grammy Awards.
Recently in a "Classical Arts Against AIDS" function he was the top scorer for the night's bowling activiy, scoring a whopping 277 points without even finishing his game!
- Feared by online gamers as "The Nukester", Joshua Bell has one of the highest overall scores ever for the PC game Duke Nukem.
- On the 21st of July, Mr Bell was honoured as a Living Legend by the Indiana Historcal Society!
Once again Joshua was included as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" in the May issue of People's Magazine.
- His recording of the Nicholas Maw Concerto was short listed for the 2000 Mercury Prize.
Joshua Bell As A Person - His hobbies, likes/dislikes and other tibits:
- Ever since he was a young lad, Mr. Bell has been very interested in computers software and video games.
In his spare time, he likes to play golf and surf the 'net.
- Duke Nukem was once his favourite computer game. The grapevine reports that he still enjoys mastering the latest PC shooters.
- In his spare time, he also studies mathematics and physics, and has once expressed that if he did go to college to study, he would study those two topics rather than music.
- London's Wigmore Hall is his favourite venue.
His favourite concerto to play is the Brahms Violin Concerto.
- He dislikes artists who do what they don't believe in.
- He likes to visit Atlantic City for a few gambling rounds.
- Mr. Bell drives a black Porsche 911, a gift from his male friend who some say is his boyfriend.
- He has dated actress and Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth a few years ago, but he is said to be gay or bisexual.
- He currently resides in Manhattan, New York City.
- He has over 500 discs in his record collection, including 78's given to him by his late teacher, Josef Gingold.
- Mr Bell disliked being labelled a child prodigy.