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Joshua Bell Biography

Home > Music > B > Bell, Joshua > Biography

Born: 1967/12/09
Birth Place: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
Years Active: 1980s - present
Genres: Classical Music

Joshua Bell was born December 9, 1967 in Bloomington, Indiana and is a Grammy Award-winning violinist. Bell began taking violin lessons at the age of four. By the time Bell was 12 he began to take the violin very seriously and began to think about a career as a violinist. At 14, Bell appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. Bell went on to study music at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1985 with the St. Louis Symphony. Bell is well-respected amongst his music peers and has performed with many of the world's leading orchestras and conductors.

Bell's debut album, “Brunch Mendelssohn” on London Records arrived in 1988 to critical praise. Since then Bell has go on to produce twenty-six solo albums and six soundtrack albums for feature films. Bell's instrument is a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin called the Gibson ex Huberman, which was made in 1713 during what is known as Antonio Stradivari's Golden Era. This violin had been stolen twice from the previous owner, Bronisław Huberman. The last time the thief confessed to the act on his deathbed.

Bell had held and played the violin, and its owner at the time jokingly told Bell that the violin could be his for $4 million. Shortly thereafter, by chance, Bell came across the violin again and discovered it was about to be sold to a German industrialist to become part of a collection. Bell then sold his previous violin, the Tom Tyler Stradivarius, for a little more than $2 million and made the purchase of the Gibson ex Huberman for a little under the $4 million asking price.

His first recording made with the Gibson ex Huberman was, “Romance of the Violin,” issued by Sony Classical Records in 2003.

Bell's album, “At Home With Friends,” appeared in 2009 and featured Bell playing with a number of artists from diverse musical backgrounds, such as Chris Botti, Kristin Chenoweth, Regina Spektor and Sting.

Bell was a partner for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra from 2004 to 2005, is a professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and an adjunct associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2007, Bell joined the faculty at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music as a senior lecturer.

In addition to his solo work, his orchestral collaborations, and his teaching, Bell contributes to score for feature films regularly, of note is his 2009 collaboration with film composer Hans Zimmer for the soundtrack of the film, “Angels & Demons.” 2011 saw Bell earn the title of Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. His next album, “French Impressions,” was released on Sony/BMG Masterworks in 2012.