Violinist highlights SRAPAS season – The Daily Reflector

Violinist Joshua Bell will perform on Nov. 10.

Violinist Joshua Bell will perform on Nov. 10.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

East Carolina University will welcome arguably the world’s best violinist, Joshua Bell, on Sunday for a recital performance in Wright Auditorium.

The performance is the highlight of the six-event S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series lineup for the 2013-2014 season.

“He’s very much in demand,” SRAPAS director Michael Crane said. “In fact, there was an offer for him on the same date with (UNC) Chapel Hill — he will be back later in the year with Chapel Hill, but it was just really nice to know that we asked for the right type of date. I think they wanted him with their orchestra and we wanted him for a recital gig and he prefers the recital gig. So we got the date. It’s kind of nice to be the leader in the East on that one.”

The Grammy-winning artist toured Europe and Asia throughout October, performing in several of the world’s most famous concert halls before beginning a tour of the United States on Thursday. His tour stops in the United States include New York’s renowned Carnegie Hall, the Boston Symphony Hall, the Dallas Symphony’s Meyerson Hall and St. Louis Symphony’s Powell Hall before he goes abroad again in January. Sunday’s performance is his only scheduled performance in North Carolina until March 2014.

The fine arts scene in Greenville is somewhat different than that of bigger cities like New York or Boston, and thus so are the audiences, but the location doesn’t affect the performances, Bell said.

“When I perform, it doesn’t matter if it’s Carnegie Hall or anywhere else, I approach it in the same way,” Bell said, speaking in a phone interview from his home in New York. “Me and my pianist go into our own world of Beethoven and Stravinsky or whatever we’re playing and, in a way, it doesn’t matter where you are and who’s listening.

“Of course it’s nice to play in Carnegie Hall and big cities, but I really love playing in university towns and some smaller places where I feel like the audience can be more appreciative that you’re coming there. In New York City they’ve got about a thousand events every night and people are kind of spoiled. So I enjoy going to more regional places and getting to meet the audience there and going into the lobby and meeting the kids and things like that. I really do enjoy that.”

Bell recently released a holiday album titled “Musical Gifts” that features notable names like Allison Krauss, Gloria Estefan and Kristin Chenoweth. He also did a collaboration with Aleksy Igudesmon and Hyung-ki Joo in “Christmas Confusion,” the 15th track of the album. Igudesmon and Joo performed as part of the 2012-2013 SRAPAS season in April.

“If you had asked me five years ago if I’d be doing a holiday or Christmas album, I would have said ‘no, that’s not really up my alley,’” Bell said. “Sometimes I think of Christmas albums as being a little cheesy or sort of done just to sell records around Christmastime. But it kind of evolved into a project after I had done a couple of Christmas songs with some friends of mine for other projects — with Kristin Chenoweth, we did “O Holy Night” for something and then Chris Botti, the trumpet player, he and I did an arrangement of White Christmas — and I started thinking it would be fun to expand on that.”

Sunday’s performance is expected to include Tartini’s Violin Sonata in G minor, also known as the “Devil’s Trill Sonata;” Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 10, Op. 96; and Stravinsky’s Divertimento for Violin and Piano. He also will announce two works from the stage.

“We don’t know quite what he’s up to, but we’re pretty excited about that,” Crane said.

Bell said that he prefers to decide what to play as he goes, but that usually isn’t feasible.

“If I had it my way, I wouldn’t give any program at all ahead of time and just say, ‘if you want to come hear me, you’ve just got to come hear me and take what you want,’ kind of like a chef that won’t give you a menu,” he said, laughing. “But usually they want to know what I’m going to play ahead of time. I do like to leave some space, especially at the end of the program, to see what we’re in the mood for — but I don’t take requests.”

Crane said Thursday that the ticket sales goal had been reached, but good seats were still available.

Contact Natalie Sayewich at or 252-329-9596.

via The Daily Reflector.