Joshua Bell on Beethoven's "greatest achievement"

4 February 2013, 17:23 | Updated: 16 October 2013, 14:28

Violinist and conductor Joshua Bell tells Classic FM about his new Beethoven cycle and the challenges of leading the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

As the first American and only the second person overall to hold the title of musical director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields since Sir Neville Mariner formed the orchestra in 1958, violinist Joshua Bell has a lot of pressure to deal with.

He's not made it any easier for himself by making the orchestra's first project one of the  most notoriously difficult - a complete cycle of Beethoven's symphonies. The first recording, the 4th and the 7th symphonies, is out in March.

Classic FM's Anne-Marie Minhall bent Bell's ear on the challenges he's set himself, how the orchestra is sounding under their new leader, and how his work for education is putting music back on the cultural agenda. Oh, and the small matter of appearing on an Oscar-nominated song with Scarlett Johansson, too.

Listen to the interview here: