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Moment of Indiana History

Name Rings A Bell

In January 2007, when Joshua Bell performed in a Washington D.C. metro station for 45 minutes, only six people stopped to listen to the unidentified violinist.

A regular with orchestras from Los Angeles to Berlin, one of the world’s most renowned classical performers was born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana.

Born December 9, 1967, Joshua Bell received his first violin at the age of four after his parents, both psychologists, noticed him plucking rubber bands stretched around drawer handles to create music.

By 12, Bell was studying violin with renowned violinist and pedagogue Josef Gingold; at 14, he garnered national acclaim for his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Riccardo Muti.

Bell graduated from Bloomington High School North two years early, having already matriculated at Indiana University. In 1989 he received an Artist Diploma in Violin Performance from IU.

Having been recognized with every honor from an Indiana Governor’s Arts Award to a Grammy Award to the Avery Fisher Prize, Bell became a Senior Lecturer in the IU Jacobs School of Music in 2007. Bell returns regularly to perform in Bloomington, having donated the proceeds of a 2010 concert to the local school system’s elementary instrumental music programs.

The virtuoso plays a nearly 300-year-old Stradivarius violin.

In January of 2007, The Washington Post conducted an experiment in which Bell played in a metro station in Washington D.C. for 45 minutes. Just six people stopped to listen to the unidentified busker, only one of whom recognized him.

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