Joshua Bell
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Violinist Joshua Bell performing Estrellita by Ponce
at Royal Albert Hall during Last Night of the Proms 2007.
Don't Miss the Video at the Bottom of the Page! It's a little unusual!
Joshua Bell performs Brahms's Hungarian Dance No. 1.  This is an older performance, but is still quite good.  What is expecially interesting is the violin that Bell is using. It is a Stradivarius, but is somewhat unusual because of its shape. Look carefully about 56 seconds into the video and the close-ups that follow! The instrument is guitar-shaped...there are no C-bouts!
Many virtuoso violinists start playing the instrument when they are quite young.  Joshua Bell is no exception.  When Joshua Bell was 4 years old he stratched rubber bands across some drawer handles and started picking out tunes.  His parents decided that they should encourage him, and so they gave him a 1/16 size violin. He says that the very first tune he taught himself was the theme song to Sesame Street! By age 12 Bell was studying under Josef Gingold, and when he was 14 he made his debut playing with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Ricardo Muti
Click the Amazon widget to the right to hear some excerpts from some of Bell's recordings.

One of the things that I find interesting about Joshua Bell is his choice of music.  Many instrumentalists choose one particular genre of music and stick to it. I first came to know Joshua Bell as a Classical violinist.  But his repertoire now includes everthing from Frank Sinatra standards to Leonard Bernstein's Broadway musical works to an anthology of Appalachian music.  You might also know his work from the movie The Red Violin.
Busking is the word musicians use to describe what most people call "street performing."  The Washington Post wanted to see how much a world class musician could earn as a simple street performer. So Joshua Bell went to the Metro subway station L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C. on January 12, 2007. He performed for about 45 minutes.  And the man who earns thousands of dollars for a one-hour performance earned a total of $52.17, including $20 from a lady who recognized him.
Some of Joshua Bell's works available at Amazon.com