World-famous violinist greets Hancher Auditorium



Walk into the auditorium. The lights are dimmed. Wait for a world-class musician to take to the stage. The crowd applauds as he walks on, holding his instrument. He lifts the instrument, ready to take flight and bring the audience into an uplifting world.

Joshua Bell, a world-renowned classical violinist, will perform at Hancher at 7:30 p.m. Friday. He performed at Hancher’s previous incarnation in 2003.

For Bell, this love of music began early. As a child, his parents found him in his room, plucking rubber bands he had tied to his dresser drawers. Young Joshua was trying to play the music he had heard, and his parents immediately took action. Thereafter, Bell and his violin took on the world.

The violinist is not only accomplished, he is as well-rounded as a pebble in a mountain stream. Besides classical music, Bell has played in the soundtrack for the film The Red Violin, which won an Oscar for best music. Several times, he played himself in the TV drama “Mozart in the Jungle.” He has recorded more than 40 CDs and received Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone, and Echo Klassik Awards. He has also received the Avery Fischer Prize.

“Josh has branched out into many other musical genres and clearly shows a passion and interest for music in the broadest sense,” said UI music Associate Professor Scott Conklin.

One of his most famous performances occurred in the hustle and bustle in the Washington Metro. Bell was filming to see if anyone would stop and listen to his lovely music. Sadly, the denizens rushed past the musician, too busy or unable to stop and listen for a bit.

Bell will play three hauntingly beautiful sonatas by three 19th-century composers: Felix Mendelssohn, Edvard Grieg, and Johannes Brahms are the lucky winners of Bell’s performance.

“The final piece is the ‘First Violin Sonata,’ by German composer Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). It’s nostalgic music that incorporates two songs by Brahms about lost childhood innocence, ‘Regenlied’ (Rain Song) and ‘Nachklang’ (Reminiscence). Bell will also play additional pieces he selects the night of the concert,” said Marian Wilson Kimber, a UI music professor.

“Music provides healing properties, nourishment of the spirit, and escapism for listeners,” Conklin said. “It is magical to be a facilitator of such things.”


Joshua Bell

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Where: Hancher Auditorium

Admission: $10-$70

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