Joshua Bell unique and common with Stradivarius violin

Emens Concert great treat for 50th anniversary

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - That virtuosity that Violinist Joshua Bell puts into a performance of Tartini, Beethoven and Stravinisky enchanted the audience at Emens Auditorium on Monday night.

The performance was a particular delight to Pat Ray, whose husband was Tom, was a music professor and knew those who helped Bell with his education and career at Indiana University.

Ray was talking to retired Ball State friends about the rich sound from the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius while Bell hopped and danced around violin sonatas over four centuries of classical music.

More than 2,000 people watched the Academy Award winner violinist as Ball State band leader Roger McConnell called the concert a "bell ringer" with a worldwide talent that came from Indiana and makes to profound impact on classical music. And the accompany by Sam Haywood on piano was profund and in step with every note of the sonatas.

Bell not only is music director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the first to hold that positions since 1958, he also has played for heads of state including President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The extraordinary sound of Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 10 was the favorite of many as Tartani's older Violin Sonata in G minor was slower like the century before it.

The bold, strong Divertimento from Stratvinsky's Russian ballet carried the second act and reflected the range Bell could play, He debuted nationally, playing at Carnegie Hall in 1985 when he was 17.

Ray said Bell was a child prodigy plucked rubber bands when he was young and was educated by some of the best music professors at Indiana.

His career exploded after the Carnegie debut and he has played for many symphonies in the United States and around the world.

McConnell thought it was fantastic to have such an accomplished artist play at Ball State, and he was promoting his own music event on Sunday at Emens.

America's Hometown Band will play a variety of music with regulars like Phil Cooley, George Wolfe and Will Frazier. And some gospel groups led by Keith O'Neill will round out the free performance at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Bell was on a whirlwind tour this week at Ball State and Stanford and then going to San Juan and Montreal next week. He recently made a debut on Amazon in a movie called Mozart in the Jungle, and won a Grammy Award in 1993 for Nicholas Maw's violin concerto and performed solo on John Corigliano's Oscar winning sound track The Red Violin.



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