With a career spanning almost four decades, GRAMMY® Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell
is one of the most celebrated artists of his era. Having performed with virtually every major orchestra in the world, Bell continues to maintain engagements as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, conductor, and Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
Bell’s highlights in the 2021–22 season include leading the Academy of St Martin in the Fields at the 2021 BBC Proms, throughout Europe, and the United States on tour; returning with the Philadelphia Orchestra for a play/conduct program, to the Verbier Festival, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic; and tours with the Israel Philharmonic and NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra as soloist. Additional 2021–22 performances to be announced.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bell joined the classical music world in bringing world-class performances online. In summer 2020, PBS presented Joshua Bell: At Home With Music, a nationwide broadcast directed by Tony and Emmy award winner Dori Berinstein, produced entirely in lockdown. The program included core classical repertoire as well as new arrangements of beloved works, including a West Side Story medley. The special featured guest artists Larisa Martínez, Jeremy Denk, Peter Dugan, and Kamal Khan. In August 2020, Sony Classical released the companion album to the special, Joshua Bell: At Home With Music.
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In 2011, Bell was named Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, succeeding Sir Neville Marriner, who formed the orchestra in 1959. Bell’s history with the Academy dates back to 1986 when he first recorded the Bruch and Mendelsohn concertos with Mariner and the orchestra. Bell has since directed the orchestra on several albums including Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Voice of the Violin, For the Love of Brahms, and most recently, Bruch: Scottish Fantasy, which was nominated for a 2019 GRAMMY® Award.
Bell has performed for three American presidents and the sitting justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. He participated in former president Barack Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ first cultural mission to Cuba, joining Cuban and American musicians on a 2017 Live from Lincoln Center Emmy nominated PBS special, Joshua Bell: Seasons of Cuba, celebrating renewed cultural diplomacy between Cuba and the United States.
Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Bell began the violin at age four, and at age twelve, began studies with his mentor, Josef Gingold. At age 14, Bell debuted with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and made his Carnegie Hall debut at age 17 with the St. Louis Symphony. At age 18, Bell signed with his first label, London Decca, and received the Avery Fisher Career Grant. In the years following, Bell has been named 2010 “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Musical America, a 2007 “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum, nominated for six GRAMMY® awards, and received the 2007 Avery Fisher Prize. He has also received the 2003 Indiana Governor’s Arts Award and a Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 1991 from the Jacobs School of Music. In 2000, he was named an “Indiana Living Legend.”
In addition to public presentations, every artist in the UCLS series does important work with UNCG students, such as holding masterclasses and seminars, often just hours before performing on stage. Thanks to The Cemala Foundation, some of these artists also work with K-12 students in the Guilford County Schools.