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Joshua Bell and Friends’ stunning virtuosity delights Hollywood Bowl audience

Joshua Bell
Joshua Bell
Courtesy of LA Phil

Joshua Bell and Friends at the Hollywood Bowl


A completely different side of Joshua Bell’s talents was revealed at the Hollywood Bowl recently when the violin virtuoso performed with several of his highly gifted friends and the LA Philharmonic orchestra. While many of his admirers are aware of his amazing talents as a classical music soloist, recording artist, and Music Director of St. Martin in the Fields, Joshua’s diverse program as a collaborator on Tuesday night included duets with Philippe Quint, Frankie Moreno and Glenn Close as well as a performance with the trio called Time for Three.

Principal Guest Conductor Bramwell Tovey and the LA Philharmonic orchestra opened the evening with Stravinsky’s Fireworks before introducing Joshua Bell. “Thank you for coming out tonight. I’ve just been informed that this is my 18th visit to The Bowl, so I thought we’d do something different,” stated Joshua.

For openers Joshua Bell put several intimate flourishes on Ravel’s virtuoso piece in the style of a Hungarian Rhapsody titled Tzigane. His compelling interpretation of the piece’s extended solo cadenza and fiery temperament was technically brilliant and mesmerizing from start to finish. In a duet with Glenn Close (the multiple award-winning actress), Joshua beautifully complimented Glenn’s vocals during "With One Look” from the movie Sunset Boulevard and “Lay Your Head Down” from the movie Albert Nobbs. The McCartney/Lennon pop classic “Eleanor Rigby” received a true classical makeover when Joshua and Frankie Moreno reprised their roles from Bell’s 2009 album Joshua Bell at Home with Friends. Updated as a piece for violin, piano and vocals this song was elevated to a refreshingly new interactive experience.

“Navarra” became an exciting musical experience for audience members when Joshua Bell and Philippe Quint synchronized this piece note-for-note. Although the two violinists had not previously performed together their harmonized debut was incredible and received an enthusiastic ovation. Just as thrilling was “Death by Triple Fiddle,” a bluegrass piece from the Edgar Meyer album, Short Trip Home with Joshua Bell which featured Joshua with the trio known as Time For Three. The fiddling and bass voicings (three violins and double bass) were absolutely electrifying and brought shouts of approval at the end of their performance.

After intermission, Bramwell Tovey conducted two glorious interpretations of movie scores - Suite from Sunset Boulevard and Ladies in Lavender, Nigel Hess’ score from the movie of the same name. Joshua Bell was the featured soloist during Ladies in Lavender and both works received enthusiatic applause.

Bramwell Tovey and the LA Philharmonic orchestra closed the evening with a stellar version of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite (1919).