- Joshua Bell
Academy of St Martin in the Fields
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is one of the world’s greatest chamber orchestras, renowned for fresh, brilliant interpretations of the world’s greatest classical music. Formed by Sir Neville Marriner in 1958 from a group of leading London...
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is one of the world’s greatest chamber orchestras, renowned for fresh, brilliant interpretations of the world’s greatest classical music.
Formed by Sir Neville Marriner in 1958 from a group of leading London musicians, the Academy gave its first performance in its namesake church in November 1959. Through unrivalled live performances and a vast recording output – highlights of which include the 1969 best-seller Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning film Amadeus– the Academy quickly gained an enviable international reputation for its distinctive, polished and refined sound. With over 500 releases in a much-vaunted discography and a comprehensive international touring programme, the name and sound of the Academy is known and loved by classical audiences throughout the world.
Today the Academy is led by Music Director and virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell, retaining the collegiate spirit and flexibility of the original small, conductor-less ensemble which has become an Academy hallmark. Under Bell's direction, and with the support of Director / Leader Tomo Keller and Principal Guest Conductor Murray Perahia, the Academy continues to push the boundaries of play-directed performance to new heights, presenting symphonic repertoire and chamber music on a grand scale at prestigious venues from New York to Beijing.
Alongside 80 performances in 16 different countries during the 2017/18 season, the Academy continues to reach out to people of all ages and backgrounds through its learning and participation programmes. The Academy’s flagship project for young people provides performance workshops for primary and secondary school children; partnerships with Southbank Sinfonia, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal Northern College of Music and masterclasses on tour further the development of the professional musicians of tomorrow; the Academy provides a creative outlet for some of London’s most vulnerable adults at a centre for homeless people; and a regular programme of pre-concert talks and podcasts create opportunities for Academy audiences the world over to connect and learn with the orchestra.
Play and Conduct
Joshua Bell, Play & Conduct (violin)
Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era and his restless curiosity, passion, and multi-faceted musical interests are almost unparalleled in the world of classical music. Selected as Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the...
Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era and his restless curiosity, passion, and multi-faceted musical interests are almost unparalleled in the world of classical music. Selected as Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields by the musicians in 2011, Bell is the first person to hold this post following Sir Neville Marriner, who formed the orchestra in 1958.
An exclusive Sony Classical artist, Bell has recorded more than 40 CDs since his first LP recording at age 18 on the Decca Label, garnering Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards in the process. The Academy of St Martin in the Fields first release under Bells leadership Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 4 and 7 debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts and was followed up by the critically acclaimed Bach. Bells latest release For the Love of Brahms was recorded with Steven Isserlis, Jeremy Denk, and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in January 2016. His discography encompasses much of the major violin repertoire as well as ground-breaking collaborations across multiple musical genres with respected artists from the worlds of pop, jazz, bluegrass and film.
Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Bell received his first violin at age 4 and at 12 began studying with the legendary Josef Gingold at Indiana University where he now serves as a senior lecturer at the Jacobs School of Music. At the age of 14 Bell began his rise to stardom, performing with Riccardo Muti and the Philhadelphia Orchestra and at age 17 making his Carnegie Hall debut and touring Europe for the first time. Perhaps the event that helped most to transform his reputation from musicians musician to household name was his incognito performance in a Washington, DC subway station in 2007. Ever adventurous, Bell had agreed to participate in the Washington Post story by Gene Weingarten which thoughtfully examined art and context. The story earned Weingarten a Pulitzer Prize and sparked an international firestorm of discussion. The conversation continues to this day, thanks in part to the September 2013 publication of the childrens book The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Dušan Petričić from Annick Press. In February 2017, a new family concert of the same title premiered at the Kennedy Center which will be available to orchestras worldwide. Co-commissioned by the Kennedy Center and Canadas National Arts Centre, the concert featured narration, three screen animation and new music by Anne Dudley performed by Bell and the National Symphony Orchestra.
Bell has received many accolades, including the Dushkin Award from the Music Institute of Chicago in 2016, and honours from the New York Chapter of The Recording Academy, the National Young Arts Foundations, Arts Horizons, Moment Magazine and Seton Hall University. Bell was named Instrumentalist of the Year, 2010 by Musical America, was honoured by Education Through Music in 2009 and received the Academy of Achievement Award in 2008. He was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in 2007 and was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame in 2005. Bell performs on the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius violin and uses a late 18th century French bow by François Tourte.