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Joshua Bell, violin; Frederic Chiu, piano



Joshua Bell

Grammy¨ Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell kicked off the 2005-06 season with a new honor - he was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame in June - and the September release of his latest Sony Classical recording, featuring a live performance of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. An exclusive Sony Classical artist who has created a large and richly varied catalogue of recordings, Bell swept Billboard Magazine's 2004 honors as "Classical Artist of the Year" with the "Classical Album of the Year" - the best-selling Romance of the Violin, a collection of classical favorites that is currently in its second year near the top of the Billboard Classical charts. The recording has also been released as a DualDisc, featuring video excerpts from Bell's live concert broadcast from Lincoln Center's Stanley Kaplan Penthouse for the PBS series Live From Lincoln Center.

Bell's 2005-2006 performance season in North America includes concerts with the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke's at Carnegie Hall, and the Boston, Chicago and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, as well as a national recital tour with pianist Jeremy Denk. He will also continue his Artistic Partnership Series with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra as guest soloist/leader.

International highlights of Bell's upcoming season will include a tour of China with Sir Roger Norrington and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, a tour of Israel with Herbert Blomstedt and the Israel Philharmonic, a European recital tour with pianist Zoltan Kocsis, and concerts with the Oslo Philharmonic, as well as a recital and chamber music performance at the Wigmore Hall.

For over two decades, Joshua Bell has been captivating audiences worldwide with his poetic musicality. He came to national attention at the age of 14 in a highly acclaimed orchestral debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. A Carnegie Hall debut, the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and a recording contract further confirmed his unique presence in the music world. Equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra leader, Bell's career is exceptionally varied. Now in his thirties, he continues to perform regularly with the world's leading symphony orchestras and conductors. At the same time, his restless curiosity and multifaceted musical interests have taken him in exciting new directions, forging a unique career that has earned him the rare title of classical music superstar. In addition to his concert career, Bell enjoys chamber music collaborations with artists such as Pamela Frank, Steven Isserlis and Edgar Meyer as well as occasional collaborations with artists outside the classical arena including Josh Groban, Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea and James Taylor.

"Bell," Gramophone stated simply, "is dazzling."

Joshua Bell made his first recording at the age of 18, and he already had an extensive catalogue of classical recordings when joined the Sony Classical roster in 1996, hoping to expand his horizons as a recording artist. The result has been a distinctive and wide-ranging body of work that, to date, has yielded three Grammy Awards - for his recording of Nicholas Maw's Violin Concerto, which was written for him; for his West Side Story Suite recording; and for his performances on banjo virtuoso BŽla Fleck's crossover classical recording Perpetual Motion.

Among Bell's most recent recordings for Sony Classical are performances on two film soundtracks, the Classical Brit-nominated Ladies in Lavender and the Fall 2005 release Dreamer: Inspired By A True Story. For three years, he was deeply involved in the creation of John Corigliano's Academy Award-winning score for the 1999 film The Red Violin, performing the virtuosic solos on the soundtrack and serving as an advisor and even a stand-in in the film. In his Oscar acceptance speech, a jubilant Corigliano proclaimed, "Joshua plays like a god." Bell also gave the world premiere of Corigliano's The Red ViolinÑChaconne for Violin and Orchestra, a concert work drawn from the film score which is also included on the Sony Classical original soundtrack recording. In 2001, Bell also performed on the soundtrack of the Academy Award-winning film Iris, in an original score by James Horner.

From the classical repertoire, Bell has made critically acclaimed recordings for Sony Classical of the concertos of Beethoven and Mendelssohn (both featuring his own cadenzas), and Sibelius and Goldmark, as well as the Nicholas Maw concerto. His Grammy-nominated recording Gershwin Fantasy premiered a new work for violin and orchestra based on themes from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. Its success led to an all-Bernstein recording (also a Grammy nominee) that included the premiere of the West Side Story Suite as well as a new recording of the composer's Serenade. With the composer and double bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer, Bell appears on the Grammy-nominated crossover recording Short Trip Home and a disc of concert works by Meyer and the 19th-century composer Giovanni Bottesini. Bell also collaborated with Wynton Marsalis on the Grammy-winning spoken word children's album, Listen to the Storyteller. He has twice performed on the Grammy Awards telecast in recent years, performing music from Short Trip Home and West Side Story Suite.

In addition to Grammy Awards, Bell has won the Mercury Music Prize for the Maw concerto recording with Sir Roger Norrington and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Germany's Echo Klassik for Sibelius/Goldmark concerto recording with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

Bell appeared as himself in the film Music of the Heart starring Meryl Streep, and millions of people are just as likely to see him on Late Night With Conan O'Brien as on the PBS programs Great PerformancesÑJoshua Bell: West Side Story Suite from Central Park, Joshua Bell at the PenthouseÑLive From Lincoln Center, Memorial Day Concert, Sesame Street or A&E's Biography. He was one of the first classical artists to have a music video air on VH1, and he has been the subject of a BBC Omnibus documentary. Bell has been profiled in publications ranging from Newsweek to People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People issue, Gramophone and The New York Times, which stated, "No one stands in Mr. Bell's shadow."

Bell and his two sisters grew up on a farm in Bloomington, Indiana. As a child, he indulged in many passions outside of music, becoming an avid computer game player and a competitive athlete. He placed fourth in a national tennis tournament at age 10 and still keeps his racquet close by. Bell received his first violin at age four after his parents, both psychologists by profession, noticed him plucking tunes with rubber bands he had stretched around the handles of his dresser drawers. By 12 he was serious about the instrument, thanks in large part to the inspiration of renowned violinist and pedagogue Josef Gingold, who had become his beloved teacher and mentor.

In 1989, Bell received an Artist Diploma in Violin Performance from Indiana University. His alma mater also honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Service Award only two years after his graduation. He has been named an "Indiana Living Legend" and received the Indiana Governor's Arts Award.

Bell has taught master classes at London's Royal Academy of Music, and he has served as Adjunct Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, helping to develop a new generation of high tech instruments and toys. He currently serves on the Artist Committee of the Kennedy Center Honors.

Joshua Bell plays the 1713 Gibson ex Huberman Stradivarius.


Frederic Chiu

Born and raised in America by Chinese immigrant parents, resident of Paris for twelve years, Frederic Chiu’s cosmopolitan background brings a unique approach to his music-making.

A master of the recording studio, Frederic Chiu has released over twenty CDs for the Harmonia Mundi label including the complete piano works by Prokofiev recently released in a newly designed package of 10 CDs, a recording project that has elicited enthusiasm from Fanfare to the Wall Street Journal. His release of three rarely-played Mendelssohn sonatas was chosen as Record of the Year by Stereo Review and his Liszt CD was reviewed on BBC Radio 3: “As for the playing, my strongest impression is one of reverence.” His latest release continues his Chopin series, with the Etudes Opus 25 and Berceuse, Barcarolle and Polonaise Fantaisie.

After studies at Indiana University and at the Juilliard School, Frederic Chiu began his career in Europe: his recital debut at the Wigmore Hall prompted the Evening Standard’s headline “Call of the Wild Genius”. He has performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Cité de la Musique in Paris and the Philharmonie in Berlin. In North America, Frederic Chiu has performed extensively at the Lincoln Center, Newport Music Festival, the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Ambassador Theatre in Pasadena and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC; and in Asia, with the China National Symphony in Beijing, the Taipei National Symphony, and in recital in Hong Kong and Singapore.

His concert activities also include chamber music, in which Frederic reserves a special place for the violin/piano repertoire with performers such as Pierre Amoyal, Joshua Bell and Philippe Graffin, the latter with whom he co-founded the festival Consonances in Saint-Nazaire, France.

A recipient of prestigious awards such as the Avery Fisher Career Grant, it was the lack of an award, at the 1993 Van Cliburn Competition, that first brought him international notoriety: the New York Times referred then to Frederic Chiu as the “maverick American pianist”.

In the music of Prokofiev, Frederic Chiu has been praised as “the pianist playing the most like my father himself” by the composer’s son, Oleg Prokofiev. Last year, he performed the Russian composer’s piano concertos with the Estonia State Symphony and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestras, including the rarely-heard Concerto for the Left Hand, a series of recitals at the Valery Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam to great acclaim and the complete Piano Sonatas in one evening in Paris.

He teaches an unconventional approach to music-making through his Deeper Piano Studies workshops and masterclasses, which take place in the United States and in Europe.