Joshua Bell interview- Tamar Alexia Fleishman
How many of us end up as a quiz show question? Regis Philbin asked in
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, "Joshua Bell is known as a virtuoso of
what instrument?" The 33 year old violinist is a concert artist, teacher
and somewhat reluctant heartthrob. This year, he won a Grammy (R) Award
for his recording of a violin concerto written for him by Nicholas Maw.
He received Grammy (R) nominations for his recordings Short Trip Home,
Gershwin Fantasy, and the Red Violin (whose score won the Academy (R)
Award). People magazine named him one of the "50 Most Beautiful People
in the World", Glamour magazine named him one of six "It Men of the
Millennium," and he has appeared on the "The Tonight Show," "Politically
Incorrect with Bill Maher," as well as VH1. He also is an Adjunct
Professor for M.I.T and is very attuned (pardon the pun) to the tech
I spoke to Joshua by group teleconference, as one of six reporters on
the line. A resident of New York City, he started doing these
teleconferences after September 11; at the time, he could call out, but
nobody could call him.
He loves "new gadgets": "I lug a heavy laptop, I need a great graphics
card to play games! It's a 10 pound Dell. I get a new one every 6 to 8
months, I get jealous of the new technology."
When asked about M.I.T., he said, "M.I.T. approached me, they knew I
liked technology. One professor, Todd Mackover, invents musical toys for
kids in the media labs. They want to bring the toys into the
communities. I am helping with a "hyper violin," an electric violin
connected to a computer."
For fun, he plays tennis ("though the reports of my tennis prowess are
greatly exaggerated,") , a little Pro-Am golf and does some skiing.
"Though it's probably not the safest thing to do, considering what I do.
I don't worry about it. You have to live and not worry too much or else
something probably will happen. I love restaurants and my computer."
Renowned for being a crossover artist ("I don't call myself that,
though. I just play what I want to play,"), he does acknowledge that
many soloists of the last century rebelled against modern music, that
the repertoire became conservative and predictable. His concert schedule
and programs may all be found, along with answers to e-mail questions,