Joshua Bell to perform works by Brahms, Grieg, Prokofiev Oct. 11 at Eisenhower

September 11, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Joshua Bell, one of the most acclaimed classical violinists of our time, will make his first Penn State appearance in more than seven years performing in recital with pianist Sam Haywood at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, in Eisenhower Auditorium.

The concert, presented by the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State, is scheduled to include Johannes Brahms’ Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Edvard Grieg’s Violin Sonata No. 2 in G Major, Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major and additional works announced from the stage.

A writer for New York Classical Review called Bell a “pretty damn good fiddle player ... His main virtue, an elegant style full of long, singing phrases, never becomes tiresome or out of fashion. He’s simply one of the best there is.”

An exclusive Sony Classical artist, the violinist has recorded more than 40 albums in his career as a soloist, a chamber musician, a recording artist, a conductor and a director. He has earned Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards and is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize.

Sony Classical’s most recent release in June, with Bell and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, features Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy” and G minor Violin Concerto. Bell’s previous release, “For the Love of Brahms” (2016), includes 19th-century repertoire with the academy, Steven Isserlis and Jeremy Denk. His 2014 “Bach” album, featuring Bell conducting the academy in Beethoven’s Fourth and Seventh symphonies, debuted at number one on the Billboard classical charts.

Since 2011, Bell has been the music director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. He is the only person to hold that post since Sir Neville Marriner created the extensively recorded British orchestra in 1958.

Bell, who has performed for three U.S. presidents, has recorded with artists from various genres, including Chris Botti, Kristin Chenoweth, Chick Corea, Plácido Domingo, Gloria Estefan, Renée Fleming, Josh Groban, Alison Krauss, Edgar Meyer, Anoushka Shankar, Regina Spektor and Sting.

The violinist entered the national limelight in the early 1980s when, at age 14, he performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

“He’s one of the most imaginative, technically gifted and altogether extraordinary violinists of our time,” wrote a Washington Post reviewer. “… There’s still a sort of elfin quality to his playing. There’s the trademark untucked shirt, the dancing on the balls of his feet, the mop of flying hair. But … there’s also an almost effortless freshness in his playing: It sounds utterly spontaneous, while underpinned with a flawless sense of drama and narrative line.”

Musical America named Bell 2010 Instrumentalist of the Year. In 2004, Billboard selected the violinist as Classical Artist of the Year and his “Romance of the Violin” Classical Album of the Year.

A native of Indiana, Bell made his Center for the Performing Arts debut in 2007 with St. Martin in the Fields. He returned to Eisenhower for a 2011 recital with Haywood.

British pianist Sam Haywood, originally from the English Lake District, performs an array of piano repertoire as a soloist, a chamber musician and a lieder accompanist. He has had a regular duo partnership with Bell since 2010. He also often performs with cellist Isserlis.

“With a lyrical sensitivity honed by his chamber-music performances, pianist Sam Haywood creates melodies scaled to perfection against a patina of swirling accompaniment,” observed a Washington Post reviewer.

Haywood has recorded two solo albums for Hyperion, one featuring piano music by Julius Isserlis (grandfather of Steven Isserlis) and another of Charles Villiers Stanford’s preludes. In 2013, he co-founded the Solent Music Festival. The Lymington-based festival has become an annual event.

For more information, visit the Center for the Performing Arts online or call 814-863-0255.

Lynn Sidehamer Brown, Elinor C. Lewis, Dotty Rigby and Kimberly Watkins sponsor the concert.

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  • A man with his eyes closed sits at a piano.

    British pianist Sam Haywood will perform alongside violinist Joshua Bell. The two have performed regularly together as a duo since 2010.

    IMAGE: Ovidiu Micsik

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 12, 2018