Long Distance: Towering Bell is highlight of classical season

JoshuaBellbyBillPhelps 600 dpi (3).JPG
Violin virtuoso Joshua Bell's Nov. 1 performance may be the high point of the Twin Cities classical season.

He's coming armed with a 1713 Huberman Stradivariusand a late 18th century French bowby François Tourte.

That's one of the ways you know celebrated violinist Joshua Bell, who will be playing at the Ordway Music Theaterat 3 p.m. Nov. 1, means business. The Ordway is the perfect venue for the world-renowned classical violinist, although it should be mentioned that his gig is courtesy of the Schubert Club.

Bell will be joined by pianist Sam Haywood, and there's also an hour-long pre-show discussion slated for the Marzitelli Foyer to be hosted by Mark Mazullo, a professor in the Music Department at Macalester College.

Snagging Bell to perform is quite a coup (in both the classical and the commercial sense); he made his Carnegie Hall debut at 17 years old, and he seemingly hasn't stopped since then. Among his many other accomplishments, Bell been a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London, an artistic partner for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the 2007 winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize.

Playing his golden instrument from the golden era of music, Bell has been called everything from a living legend to a "classical music superstar." He's even performed three times under the patronage of President Obamaand came back to perform for Vice President Joe Biden and president of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping.


With a voluminous discography, and a list of awards almost as long as the violin strings he's gone through in his career, Bell's visit marks a high point in the season's classical music attractions. The program, which is slated to last two hours with an intermission, will feature music from Tomaso Antonio Vitali, Ludwig van Beethoven, and César Franck, but additional pieces may be announced from the stage, and Bell has a lot up his sleeveto pull out for the audience's enjoyment.

Like I said, you know the man means business. And, he plays a mean violin. Get ready to rosin your bows, the master is in town.

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