Joshua Bell made us very happy when he first played in Bulgaria 3 years ago. The tickets for his concert at the Bulgaria Hall were sold out weeks before the event from the programme of The Music of America series, presented by Cantus Firmus and the America for Bulgaria foundation. He was so generous to let another 1300 people in the hall for the dress rehearsal that is still talked about as a memorable event. And that concert with the Classic FM Orchestra conducted by Maxim Eshkenazy was special for him, too. On a new Jazz FM interview Joshua Bell looks back: the audience is warm and passionate for music, the musicians are fantastic, the conductor – a long-time friend. On May 13th, 2016 Joshua Bell will play at the Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture, the Classic FM Orchestra will be accompanying, Maxim Eshkenazy will be conducting in this presentation of Max Bruch’s violin concerto and Meditation from Massenet’s Thaïs. The orchestra will play Mozrat’s 40th Symphony and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture. The concert is part of the European Music Festival presented by Cantus Firmus in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and is on the Culture Calendar of the Sofia Municipality.
Joshua Bell describes Max Bruch’s violin concerto as one of the most beloved pieces, and he treasures it personally, too. “For me it was one of the first big pieces that I played when I was 11 years old, so I have a personal history going so far back. It was one of the first pieces that I fell in love with right at the time when I decided to become a violinist,” Joshua Bell said on this interview by Jazz FM’s Svetoslav Nikolov. He had recorded that gem, and Mendelssohn’s violin concerto, too, with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields when he was 18 years old. Having grown with this concerto for the last 30 years, Joshua Bell plans on recording it again, now that he is the Musical Director of this orchestra. Being the soloist and conductor at the same time he describes as an organic experience, one that feels like chamber music: “Which is something very special,” he says. And his words of appreciation of this music: “It is exciting, beautiful and passionate – it has everything in it!”
Bruch’s violin concerto is just as beautiful as Massenet’s Mediatation: “It’s incredibly beautiful! It is one of these jewels that makes people sigh when I announce that we are doing it as an encore: “Oh, we love that piece!”, Joshua Bell said of the French composition that he will also perform on the 13th of May.
It is not only classical music, it is jazz, rock and pop that also find their place in his heart. “Music is music!”, Joshua Bell says and draws the line between good music and bad music. “What I do like is playing with other kind of musicians, because of getting a different take. I look for opportunities to learn from other kinds of musicians. I try not to think about the boundaries that much, I try to make music as much as I can,” the Grammy Award winner explained on this interview.
“Music is my faith,” he states, answering a question about what makes for a life, full of meaning. “Music is about truth and about being part of something bigger than yourself. Music, family, friendships, enjoyment of life, communing with people and actually enjoying the pleasures of life, for example – good food,” Joshua Bell makes a list of those precious things that make life fulfilling. “Unfortunately, life is too short, but that is better than nothing. We should all feel lucky to be living in this world,” Joshua Bell said at the end of the interview that you can listen to using the Audio button.
Photo: Joshua Bell at the dress rehearsal for his first concert in Bulgaria. Credit: Miro Zlatev, BulFoto Agency