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Musical World

Joshua Bell

  • Conductor
  • Violinist


Joshua Bell Awards, Recognition/ Reviews

2011 Paul Newman Award for Services to the Arts and Children
In 2011 Arts Horizons presented Joshua with the Paul Newman Award for Services to the Arts and Children.
Arts Horizons brings arts programming to New York City and New Jersey public schools, hospital pediatric wings, and community centers. Each year it honors strong role models who encourage and inspire children to aim high, make goals and follow their dreams through the varied avenues that young people can choose on their own paths to success.

2011 Moment Magazine Huberman Award
In 2011 Joshua received the Huberman Award from Moment Magazine during an annual symposium on the origins of human creativity which benefits their Daniel Pearl Investigative Journalism Initiative. The Daniel Pearl Investigative Journalism Initiative supports young journalists so that they may research and write about prejudice anywhere in the world.

2010 Musical America Award Instrumentalist of the Year
In December 2009, Joshua was presented with the 2010 Musical America Instrumentalist of the Year Award at the annual Musical America Awards ceremony held at Lincoln Center. Now in its third century as the indispensable resource for the performing arts, Musical America's annual awards recognize excellence and achievement in the arts. 

2010 Seton Hall University Humanitarian of the Year Award
Joshua was presented with the Humanitarian of the Year Award from Seton Hall University in 2010 during the Evening of Roses fundraising event to benefit the Sister Rose Thering Fund for Jewish-Christian Studies. This annual evening honors outstanding scholars in the field of Jewish-Christian relations and confers a Humanitarian of the Year award upon an individual who has demonstrated outstanding compassion, altruism, and courage in various endeavors. 

2009 Education Through Music Award Man of the Year
In 2009, Joshua was named Man of the Year by Education Through Music. Joshua was presented the award in recognition of his dedication to sharing his love of classical music with children and in particular for inspiring many students who are part of the Education Through Music program. Education Through Music was founded to promote the integration of music into the curricula of disadvantaged schools in order to enhance students' academic performance and general development. 

2008 Pulitzer Prize winning Joshua Bell story by Gene Weingarten
In 2007, Joshua agreed to be part of a cultural experiment conducted by the Washington Post that examined art in context. The experiment, in which Joshua pretended to be a busker in a busy commuter station, and its resulting Washington Post cover story titled “Pearls Before Breakfast” created an international firestorm of discussion about how we appreciate art, and specifically, music. On April 7, 2008 it was announced that this provocative think-piece by Gene Weingarten was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. 
Read the story:
Announcement of Pulitzer Prize Win :

2008 Golden Plate Award
In 2008, Joshua was presented with the Golden Plate Award from the Academy of Achievement for exceptional accomplishment in the arts. The Golden Plate Award is presented annually to approximately twenty-five guests of honor at the International Achievement Summit.
Chosen by the Academy's Awards Council and other distinguished authorities, these men and women of exceptional accomplishment in the sciences, professions, business, industry, arts, literature, sports, entertainment, and public service are acclaimed ... not as winners, but as "representatives of the many who excel." 

2007 Avery Fisher Prize and 1986 Avery Fisher Artist Program Career Grant
In 2007 Joshua was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize, awarded annually to solo instrumentalists who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and excellence in music. He also received the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1986. The career grants, endowed by a gift to Lincoln Center from Avery Fisher in 1974, are intended to recognize and support instrumentalists with the potential for a solo career. Recipients are selected by a committee of musicians and administrators drawn from Lincoln Center’s arts groups. In 2007 Joshua was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize and his name on a marble plaque was installed at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. 

2005 Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame
Joshua was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame along with Trisha Yearwood and Frank Sinatra for whom Quincy Jones led a special posthumous tribute to the singer. Joshua’s friend and colleague Josh Groban paid tribute to Joshua singing “Mi Mancherai” which the two recorded on Groban’s CD Closer.
The Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame was established to identify and pay tribute to artists whose unique achievements embody the spirit of the world-renowned Hollywood Bowl. Drawn from the diverse arena of musical entertainment, including classical, pop, jazz, musical theatre, film composition, and dance, honorees receive their tributes each summer as part of the Bowl's annual opening night celebration which benefits Music Matters, the Los Angeles Philharmonic's youth music education program

2004 Billboard Magazine, Classical Artist of the Year and Classical Recording of the Year
Based on album sales Joshua was recognized by this prestigious music business publication for the album sales for Romance of the Violin. 

2002 Emmy(R) Award-Nomination
In 2002, Joshua Bell: West Side Story Suite from Central Park received an Emmy Nomination for Best Classical Music-Dance Program. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Emmy Awards encourage excellence within the national television industry. 

2001 Echo Klassik Award
In 2001, Joshua was awarded an Echo Klassik Award for his recording of the Sibelius and Goldmark Violin Concertos. The Best Concerto Recording award was presented to Joshua by the Deutsche Phono-Akademie. He performed at the Gala awards ceremony, which was held at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden.

2000 Oscar(R)
Composer John Corigliano won an Oscar for Best Original Score for The Red Violin. In his acceptance speech, Corigliano noted the differences between the film industry and the classical music community. He then went on to thank Joshua:

"...then you have to go to the voice of the violin and say, you know, you could write all the notes you want, but if someone doesn't play them like a god, they'll never sound that way... and Joshua Bell, the great violinist, played them like a god. Thank you, Josh."

2000 Grammy(R) Award
Joshua’s first recording for Sony Classical, Gershwin Fantasy, was nominated for Best Classical Crossover Album for the 41st Grammy Awards.

The following year, Joshua hooked up with longtime friend, bassist and composer Edgar Meyer and legendary bluegrass musicians Sam Bush and Mike Marshall to create Short Trip Home. The album received a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Crossover Album and the quartet performed on the 42nd Grammy Awards telecast.

Joshua could not attend the 43rd Grammy(R) Awards, but his recording of Nicholas Maw's Violin Concerto won the Grammy(R) for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra.

Joshua was the only classical performer on the 44th Grammy(R) Awards, where his West Side Story Suite recording was nominated for Best Classical Crossover Album and won a Grammy(R) for Best Engineered Album, Classical.

Collaborations with other Sony Classical artists produced Grammy(R) Awards for Best Spoken Word Album for Children (Wynton Marsalis’ Listen to the Storyteller), Best Classical Crossover Album (Bela Fleck's Perpetual Motion) and Best Instrumental Arrangement (Claude Debussy's "Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum" from Children's Corner on B»la Fleck's Perpetual Motion).

The recording industry's most prestigious award, the GRAMMY, is presented annually by the Recording Academy and is awarded by the Recording Academy's voting membership to honor excellence in the recording arts and sciences. 

2000 Mercury Music Prize
The annual Mercury Music Prize aims to celebrate the best in British music. The prize is open to all types of music including pop, rock, dance, folk, jazz and contemporary classical. Josh's recording of British composer Nicholas Maw's Violin Concerto captured a Mercury Music prize for the Classical Album of the Year in 2000.

2000 Indiana Living Legend
Each year, the Indiana Historical Society recognizes a select group of Hoosiers for their significant contributions to the state and society. In 2000, Joshua received this award and became part of a group of distinguished honorees that includes Larry Bird, David Letterman, Senator Richard Lugar, Jane Pauley, Kurt Vonnegut and John Wooden.

1998 Gramophone Award
The Gramophone Awards are widely regarded as the most important and influential classical music awards in the world. Gramophone critics select nominees from a pool of more than 2,000 reviews that have appeared in the magazine throughout the year and choose the winners after a two-round balloting process. In 1998, Joshua’s recording of the Barber and Walton Violin Concertos and Bloch's Baal Shem won the Concerto award.

1991 Indiana University Distinguished Alumni Service Award
Indiana University's highest accolade reserved solely for its alumni, this award provides recognition for outstanding achievements by the men and women of Indiana University. Awardees are outstanding in their chosen field of endeavor and made significant contributions benefiting their community, state, nation, or university. This award was bestowed on Joshua in 1991, only two years after he obtained his degree.


Joshua Bell reviews / press

Mr. Bell doesn’t stand in anyone’s shadow – The New York Times

Joshua Bell is the greatest American violinist active today – The Boston Herald

Most perfect interpreter of this generation – Houston Chronicle

Joshua Bell will be the one remembered in 50 years’ time – The Strad

Few people on earth can evoke as sweet a sound from a string instrument as Joshua Bell – The Kansas City Star

Impassioned playing – The Philadelphia Inquirer

Simply spectacular” – S.F. Bay Area Reporter 
The American violinist with movie-star good looks has emerged as one of the finest musicians of his generation, whose interpretations can be seriously set beside and favorably compared to players twice his age. Dead players too. – The Washington Post

The presence of Mr. Bell, one of the world’s most popular classical musicians and a virtuoso refreshingly traditional in his preference for a sweet, singing tone and tasteful vibrato in Mozart, surely accounted for the boisterous crowd that attended the sold-out evening concert.” – The New York Times

Impeccable fiddling. –

Few prodigies make it into musical maturity, but Bell has evolved from a technical whiz to a true artist and intellectual whose music feeds both your brain and your heart – Newsweek

Once every few decades or so, some great classical instrumentalist manages to capture the popular imagination. For this era in America, that musician has been violinist Joshua Bell – Santa Barbara Independent

The most celebrated American-born violinist of the modern era – Elle Magazine

Hot, young, and single, Joshua Bell makes classical music sexy – USA Weekend

One of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World – People Magazine

“Joshua Bell plays like a god” – John Corigliano’s acceptance speech upon receiving the Oscar for best film score, “The Red Violin,” performed by Joshua Bell.

(Bell’s playing) …does nothing less then tell human beings why they bother to live – Interview

Bell is dazzling: in the gentler pieces he is moving. If he can play like this at the age of 21, how is he going to play in 40 years time? – Gramophone Magazine

His recording of The Red Violin Soundtrack…moving enough to make even the most die-hard Metallica fan shed a tear – Glamour Magazine

Bell is a commanding, deeply musical, technically breathtaking performer. Wednesday night, he brought a combination of an enormous, malleable sound, absolute technical precision and artfully sculpted and colored phrasings to the concerto. He balanced striding, bold passages with moments of intimate, heart-on-his-sleeve expression, creating a gripping musical experience. – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Bell has been one of the world’s greatest violinists practically since childhood and is one of the few classical musicians to also achieve genuine and highly deserved popular celebrity. With this new album, (Bernstein: West Side Story Suite) Bell straddles the classical popular fence without in any way leaving himself open to accusations of creating a crossover product. That’s especially true here because Bernstein himself went back and forth over that fence throughout his career. – The Boston Herald

…the sound just flows from that fiddle, as close to perfection as anything on Earth. Bell’s tone is a thing of rare beauty, and he plays with such warmth and refinement that you wish the phrases would last longer. Pandemonium broke out in the house after the final Presto, which was followed by an encore - a movement from the high-spirited Mendelssohn Octet. For string fans, it was a night to remember. – The Seattle Times

The roar of the applause that filled Davies Symphony Hall at the conclusion of Sunday night’s concert had almost physical power, rushing forth like a river that had suddenly been undammed…the audience had just heard the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, led from the concertmaster’s chair by violinist Joshua Bell, tear through Mahler’s arrangement of Schubert’s D-Minor String Quartet, “Death of a Maiden.” It was a superb performance-dark, capacious and dramatically urgent…the music emerged with a glorious intensity that never ebbed. – The San Francisco Chronicle.

Joshua Bell, without a doubt the violinist of the century…a modern Paganini, bewitched the audience with the Chaconne, which sounds as if it were being played on a multitude of instruments simultaneously, not just one. The remarkable dark penetrating tone of the low register had immediacy and warmth, and the upper registers couldn’t have been sweeter and fuller. Bell played the incredibly intricate work with consummate control and no caution-he made it entirely his own. – Evansville Courier & Press

What most distinguishes Bell from other top talents of the day is that he transcends the pressure of trends, expectations, or typecasting that may be imposed on him. From the first note to the last, he’s simply constant to his personal response and understanding. The result is an unaffected, timeless musical experience so pure and intimate that listeners can’t help but be altogether immersed and influenced by his spell, long after his bow has left the strings. – Rocky Mountain News

One of the most successful artists in classical music history. – SF Classical Voice

Joshua Bell is a rock star. Boyish looks and daring musical choices – not to mention his exceptional talent and tone – have made Bell a charismatic classicist and a populist hero, a fan favorite of both old-school concert lovers and a new generation that appreciates his jazz and contemporary influences. – The Journal News

Bell’s penchant for drama made the bravura sonata by Grieg explode off the stage, and then his feel for blues and contemporary music pulled the audience in for every nuance of Ravel’s colorful work…Bell was extraordinary. – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In the firmament of today’s young violin stars, few shine as long or as brightly as Joshua Bell. – Classical

The virtuosic first movement cadenza [Mendelssohn Violin Concerto], which he let fly was composed by Bell himself. As an encore, Bell tore into Vieuxtemps’ Variations on ‘Yankee Doodle’ in jaw-dropping fashion. – The Orange County Register

The power of Bell’s communication is astonishing. The dazzling execution, powerful expression and beautiful tone are mesmerizing. If classical concerts always reached the exciting energy demonstrated by this partnership [with ASMF], moguls of the classical industry could stop worrying about how to keep the tradition alive. – The Australian

Bell towers over his field here and abroad…and it doesn’t hurt that the brilliant recording/performance star – lauded for having a halo gracing the hallowed veneer of his violin, and hailed as one who ‘plays like a god’ – happens to look like one, too. –The Exponent

“Bell demonstrated the easy virtuosity that has made him the contemporary equivalent of Pablo de Sarasate… His tone was supremely flexible: firm bowing in the first movement gave a rich, darkly lustrous sound, light skittering later on radiated silvery purity, and he ranged from one to the other effortlessly; his precise, blindingly fast left hand tore up the fingerboard and peppered the finale with pizzicato. Small wonder that the audience erupted in applause between movements and leapt to a standing ovation at the end. – The Oregonian

Bell fused impeccable agility, dexterity and artistry to thrill… Bell’s performance brought the house down, and he came out for four bows. – Oregon Music News

Bell – kinetic, charismatic, skilled and completely engaged – lived up to his high reputation. Bell dug into the music with incredible vigor, intensity and flair, to say nothing of a ferocious attach on the faster and more technically demanding sections that was nothing short of amazing; the more lyrical passages were beautifully expressed. It’s rare to hear this kind of sustained perfection outside a recording. – The Post-Dispatch

I spent an hour in heaven, watching him play and I still feel as if I’m walking on clouds today. – Culture Map, Houston

Much of the greatness of Bell is that the difficulty of whatever he plays is never evident. From the very first notes through the lyric beauty of his Adagio and the rip-roaring Finale, there was no question of right notes, right intonation, right dynamics – all you could hear was the beauty and power of the music. – San Francisco Classical Voice

Suave and technically commanding as ever, he brought splendid intonation and shapely phrasing to the music. – The San Francisco Chronicle