Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Joshua Bell Wins Prestigious Avery Fisher Prize For American Classical Music; Hopes To Perform More American And Modern Violin Concertos

"Joshua Bell started playing the violin at age 4 and went on to become one of the world's leading performers. Now, approaching 40, he's venturing deeper into conducting.

In an early present, eight months before his birthday, Bell will receive $75,000 as this year's winner of the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.

The dashing violinist from Indiana, who has won three Grammys, made his professional debut at age 14 with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Five years later, he received an Avery Fisher Career Grant for promising American classical performers. The new prize, which Bell will receive in April, honors achievement in a career.

The award is named for the late classical music benefactor and electronics wizard who helped fund Lincoln Center. Previous winners include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianists Emanuel Ax and Andre Watts, and violinists Sarah Chang and Midori....

AP: So you'll be 40 in December. Do you feel you've exhausted the violin repertoire?

[Joshua] Bell: No. I'm embarrassed to say what I haven't done -- 20th century violin repertoire, I've done only a few. I haven't done the Bartok, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Berg (concertos). ... The problem is I am playing too many concerts and juggling all that I have done and introducing one concerto a year -- often a new one." ...

Associated Press "Violinist Joshua Bell Wins Coveted Award" New York Times March 21, 2007

American classical music performer Joshua Bell is talented and energetic enough for the $75,000 Avery Fisher American Classical Performer Prize; but just don't expect to hear him performing an American or a modern violin concerto on the new Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital.

Photo credit: (c) With thanks.


Blogger stell said...

I have seen him performed (though only once) at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland and my hair stood on end because he did it exceptionally well. Though I am not a pro when it comes to classical music, (and may be even the whole range of music itself), the fact that Joshua's performance moved me to tears and stirred me spiritually, that I think is already something, adding to the fact that I love classical music to bits and my life will be cut short without it. With regards to your blog, it is really informative and I admire the posts that you sent. Thank you

1:14 PM  
Blogger Garth Trinkl said...

Thank you so much for your comment, stell. It cheered me on an otherwise highly stressful day, and is in itself a wonderful testimonial to the importance of music, perhaps especially classical music, to so many people.

I'd love to visit Dublin some day and see that National Concert Hall. My parents and sister spent a month and a half there years back when my Dad was an exchange summer professor, but I had to stay at home and work and prepare for my youth orchestra's concerts in Berlin that September. We played the Barber and the Saint-Saen's Violin Concertos that year; and the Dvorak and Bloch (Schelomo) Cello concertos. Wonderful memories!

Best classical music travels to you, and thanks again for the kind words!

1:21 PM  
Blogger Drew80 said...

I agree with you, Garth, 100% on the issue of Bell's repertory. He needs to expand it, and expand it greatly.

He is 40 years old, and yet he has not played the Bartok concertos or the Shostakovich concertos or the Berg? That is almost unbelievable.

Bell's repertory is very limited, and he plays the same pieces over and over and over. A year or two ago, he played the Bernstein Serenade--and nothing else--for an entire season. How can a serious musician confine himself to one concertante work for a whole year?

There are SO many excellent violin concertos by American composers, and I would think that at least ONE of these works would appeal to him: the William Bergsma, the two David Diamond, the two Walter Piston, the William Schuman, the George Rochberg, the Roy Harris, the Elliott Carter. Why does Bell not explore one or more of these?

It is inexplicable.

10:39 AM  

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