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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Joshua Bell talks music, education and his 300-year-old violin

Follow on Twitter as @stephhayes
Stephanie Hayes, Times Performing Arts Critic reports, "Joshua Bell, one of the most famous violinists in the world, also has one of the most famous violins.
It's a 300-year-old Stradivarius called the Gibson ex Huberman, an impeccable instrument stolen twice in its storied life. Bell paid $4 million for it, and it goes everywhere."

Known for his personality and virtuosity, Joshua Bell, 47, has recorded more than 40 albums and garnered accolades from the Avery Fisher Prize to an Academy Award nomination. 

Surely it would start to talk to you, right? Like Tom Hanks' volleyball in Castaway?
Bell laughed. And then, he kind of agreed.
"It's a special thing, opening up the case every morning and seeing this object that has had so much history and so much happen to it over the 300 years," he said. "It almost feels like a living, breathing thing. I don't take it to the extreme as Tom Hanks did. It varies day to day. I get along with it better on some days than others, depending on the weather and the way it's responding. And I try to treat it with special care and take it to a special violin doctor."
Bell, 47, is a charming celebrity of the classical world, known for his personality and virtuosity. He started on the strings at age 4 and made his Carnegie Hall debut at 17. He has recorded more than 40 albums and garnered accolades from the Avery Fisher Prize to an Academy Award nomination. A new crowd learned about Bell after he played anonymously in a subway for a Washington Post story that won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. 

There seems to be new interest in grass roots music events in our area. How important is music at the community level?

It's great to see those things happening, and these festivals and youth orchestras, and I think it's just really important. Music is such an incredible tool for kids in general. They learn discipline, they learn how to express themselves. You learn math. You learn language. It's the ideal teaching tool, and that's why it's mind-boggling when any school superintendent decides that music is something we can kind of do without. It's just ridiculous. It's tailor-made to help educate a young person in many ways. I think music should be the basis of an education, not just something you do once a week.

Source: (blog)