With a career spanning more than 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and conductor, Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. An exclusive Sony Classical artist, Bell has recorded more than 40 CDs garnering Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards and is recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize. Named the Music Director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in 2011, he is the only person to hold this post since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958. In September 2016, Sony Classical releases Bell’s newest album, For the Love of Brahms, with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Jeremy Denk.
Bell has collaborated with countless artists in and outside the classical arena and performed on television shows including the Grammy Awards, numerous Live from Lincoln Center specials and on movie soundtracks including the Oscar-winning film, The Red Violin. Bell received his first violin at age four and at 14 performed with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra, followed by his Carnegie Hall debut at 17. Perhaps the event that most transformed his reputation from ‘musician’s musician’ to ‘household name’ was his incognito performance in a Washington, D.C. subway station in 2007 for a Washington Post article which thoughtfully examined art and context. The cover story earned writer Gene Weingarten a Pulitzer Prize and sparked an international firestorm of discussion which continues to this day.
Convinced of the value of music as both a diplomatic and educational tool, Bell is a member of President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and in April 2016, he participated in the U.S. government’s inaugural cultural mission to Cuba. He is involved in Turnaround Arts, a signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities led by Michelle Obama, providing arts education to low-performing elementary and middle schools.
Bell’s 2016/17 season includes season-opening appearances with the Atlanta Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra and performances with the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert, Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, plus the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Seattle, Montreal and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Abroad he performs with the Vienna Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony and Czech Philharmonic. He embarks on four international orchestral tours: To the U.K., Benelux, Germany and Australia with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; to Switzerland with the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra; to Austria, Germany, Italy and Sweden with the Swedish Radio Symphony under Daniel Harding; and to Korea and Japan with the Orchestra de Paris also with Harding. He makes recital appearances throughout North America with his recital partners Alessio Bax including at Lincoln Center and with Sam Haywood in a West coast tour.
A highlight of the season features Bell in a week-long residency in Washington, D.C., where he will serve as 2016-2017 Artist-in- Residence at the Kennedy Center and National Symphony Orchestra. Performing and collaborating across artistic and educational mediums, Bell will explore the depths of artistic possibilities examining synergies between music, dance, the culinary arts, literature, education, and technology. Featured events will include an evening with Gourmet Symphony, a collaboration with Brooklyn’s Dance Heginbotham, a recital with literature celebrating John F. Kennedy’s Centennial, and a world premiere co-commission from Anne Dudley in a family concert based on the bestselling children’s book The Man with the Violin, inspired by Bell’s incognito 2007 D.C. Metro performance.
Bell performs on the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius violin.