New Children's Book Stars Joshua Bell: The Dance of the Violin

March 14, 2017, 12:28 PM · Superstar violinist Joshua Bell is once again the subject of a children's book: The Dance of the Violin, written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petricic.

Joshua Bell, Dance of the Violin
The young Joshua Bell, as illustrated by Dušan Petricic in the new book, The Dance of the Violin

Released today, this is Bell's second appearance in a children's book, the first being The Man With the Violin, released a year ago by the same author and illustrator, retelling the story of Bell's famous busking experiment in a Washington D.C. Metro station 10 years ago.

The Dance of the Violin tells a different story: about a time in Bell's youth when he messed up so badly at a competition that he had to stop and start all over again. Bell, a young student, learns about an international competition to be held in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Against his teacher's advise, he chooses to play a piece that is very difficult. He practices a great deal but finds himself very nervous. When he is called to play at the competition, he makes one mistake, then another, then falls apart completely and stops playing. For a moment he is angry and frustrated, but then he regains his composure and asks to start over again. This time everything falls in place, and he plays quite well, riding a wave of wonderful music-making to the end.

The book is based on a real-life episode in Bell's life, when at age 12, he performed at the Stulberg International String Competition. That year, despite the flub, Bell placed third, playing Edouard Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole. The following year he returned and won the competition.

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March 14, 2017 at 06:05 PM · Sweet! I just happen to be watching a YouTube video called "Joshua Bell: Omnibus" which he made in his 20s, and it features footage of music camp and lessons when he was age 10 and up. He's a special guy and I appreciate how much he's doing to bring music to the masses.

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