An Introduction to Violinist Joshua Bell
Joshua Bell (b. 1967) is a Grammy-award winning violinist and conductor. In addition to performing with every major orchestra in the world on six continents, he has collaborated with numerous musicians representing diverse musical genres including Josh Groban, Wynton Marsalis, and Sting. Bell was the featured soloist on the soundtrack for the 1998 Academy-Award winning movie The Red Violin. In 2011, Bell was appointed music director of St. Martin in the Fields, a position for which he was renewed through 2020. He has recorded over 40 albums and is an exclusive Sony Classical artist.
Below are two striking examples of Joshua Bell taking his violin outside of the conventional concert hall and performing in an unorthodox setting:
- Washington’s Union Station Performance
In 2007, world-renown concert artist Joshua Bell agreed to perform incognito at a Washington D.C. metro station for a Washington Post story by Gene Weingarten. During the 43 minutes during which Bell played, 1097 commuters walked by and only seven stopped to listen to his music. He collected a mere $32.17, a fraction of what he had earned a few days before playing the same music in a concert house.
2. Washington Station Encore Performance
Joshua Bell performed again in for a packed audience at the Washington Union Station in 2014, this time accompanied by nine students he mentored through the National Young Arts Foundation in a free do-over concert publicized by the Washington Post.
Joshua Bell’s 2007 Washington subway performance sparked widespread discussion about art and context and was chronicled in Kathy Stinson’s 2013 children’s book, The Man With The Violin.