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From his debut at Carnegie Hall at 17, to some incognito busking on the Washington D.C. subway, Joshua Bell is one of today's great stars of the violin, a best-selling recording artist and now a conductor.
Joshua Bell was born in Bloomington, Indiana, on 9 December 1967. He began taking violin lessons at the age of four after his mother discovered that he had stretched rubber bands across the handles of his dresser drawer to pluck out music he had heard her play on the piano.
At the age of 14, Bell appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. He studied the violin at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and went on to receive an Artist Diploma in Violin Performance from Indiana University in 1989.
At 17, Bell made his Carnegie Hall debut with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He has since performed with many of the world's major orchestras and conductors.
An exclusive recording artist for Sony Classical, Joshua Bell has recorded more than 40 CDs since his first LP was made at the age of 18 on the Decca label.
As well as playing the standard repertoire, Bell has performed many new works. Nicholas Maw's violin concerto is dedicated to Bell, who premiered it in 1993 and won a Grammy Award for his recording.
Bell has won numerous awards including a Gramophone Award in 1998 for his recording of the Barber and Walton violin concertos. He is pictured here performing during the Classical BRIT Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in 2007.
Joshua Bell's instrument is a 300-year old Stradivarius violin called the 'Gibson ex Huberman', which was made in 1713 during what is known as Stradivari's Golden Era. The violin had been stolen twice from the previous owner, Bronisław Huberman; the final time the thief confessed to the act on his deathbed.
Bell performed the violin solo for the Oscar-winning soundtrack for 'The Red Violin' and was also featured in the scores for 'Ladies in Lavender', 'Angels & Demons', 'Iris' and 'Defiance'. He is pictured here with singer Michael Buble at the after party following the New York premiere of 'The Devil Wears Prada'.
Joshua Bell's Grammy-nominated Bernstein recording included the premiere of the 'West Side Story Suite' as well as the composer's 'Serenade'. Bell is pictured here rehearsing a tribute to Bernstein for the 2002 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Bell is involved with the The Painted Turtle charity where children with serious medical conditions have fun and are given support. He is pictured here with actor Jack Nicholson at the dedication of The Painted Turtle Camp on 22 May 2004 in Lake Hughes, California.
In an experiment conducted by 'The Washington Post', Bell performed as an incognito busker at a metro station in Washington D.C. on 12 January 2007. Of the more than 1000 people who passed by, only seven stopped to listen, and only one recognised him. He collected just $32.17 from 27 people (excluding $20 from the woman who recognised him).
Joshua Bell shakes hands with the U.S.A.'s First Lady Michelle Obama after performing at a classical music student workshop concert on 4 November 2009 in the East Room of the White House. The event was part of a series created by Mrs. Obama to highlight the importance of the arts and arts education.
In 2007 Bell commissioned a violin concerto from the 15-year old composing prodigy Jay Greenberg. Bell gave the premiere with the Orchestra of Saint Luke's at Carnegie Hall, New York, on 28 October of that year.
Bell was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize on 10 April 2007 at the Lincoln Centre in New York City. The prize is given once every few years to classical instrumentalists for outstanding achievement. On 3 May 2007, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music announced that Bell had joined the faculty as a senior lecturer.
On May 26, 2011, Bell was named Music Director of the British music ensemble, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. He is the first and only other person to hold this post after the great conductor Sir Neville Marriner who founded the orchestra in 1958.