What would you ask Joshua Bell?

August 14, 2008 at 07:16 PM · Dear Violinist.com members: please submit your questions for violinist Joshua Bell! I'll be interviewing Joshua Bell on August 20, while he's in LA to play with the LA Phil at the Hollywood Bowl. We'll be talking about his new CD and about the violin in general.


August 14, 2008 at 07:39 PM · Some thoughts: What advice would you give about expressive bowing? What is your favorite violin concerto(s)? Who are your favorite violinists from past eras (no longer actively playing)?

This is amazing you are able to interview him. Bell is a superstar. I have been fortunate enough to see him play twice.

August 14, 2008 at 11:15 PM · What was the hardest thing in learning/performing Corigliano's Red Violin Concerto?

I saw the article in the Washigton Post where you played in the Metro stop. ( I live in Southern MD). What was one thing you didn't expect to happen? Also, was that a Bobelock case I saw in one of the photos? And what was the best thing that happened that day?

August 14, 2008 at 08:34 PM · What career other than being a musician would you like to try?

What book(s) are you reading right now?

What is your favorite pizza?

August 14, 2008 at 08:38 PM · Yay! I've had several opportunities to submit questions for interviews with Josh but most of the interviews never actually happened. I'm excited about this opportunity...I know you'll take good advantage of it!

Let's see...

1) What's the worst/funniest/most interesting thing that's ever happened to you on stage?

2) Do you run into language barriers when performing with foreign orchestras, and if so, how do you handle them?

3) What do you keep in your violin case?

4) How do you go about learning a brand-new piece?

5) How do you go about composing your cadenzas?

6) Are you still planning to record the Beethoven sonatas with Jeremy Denk, and if so, when?

7) Describe your typical practice regimen.

8) What people assist you in your career and in what way? (personal assistant, agent, publicist, etc.)

9) What plans do you have for continuing your exploration of composing and conducting?

10) What do you hope to bring to your new position at Indiana University?

August 14, 2008 at 08:53 PM · 1) In your earlier playing, Gingold's technical influences were very apparent in your interpretation, but, as of recent years, you have grown to develop your own style which uniquely uses concepts taught by Gingold and worked on even more by you! What inspired to you to become the musician that you are?

2) Do you plan to continue performing until you can no longer perform?

August 14, 2008 at 09:33 PM · Ms. Niles, could you please ask him this question?

Many violinists around the world would love to the arrangements made for you from the albums Romance of the Violin, Gershwin Fantasy, West Side Story Suite, etc. What is your take on possibly publishing violin and piano reductions?

Oh my gosh, I real want to see what would happen if you asked him that. I am in love with O Mio Babbino Caro and the West Side Story Suite.

August 15, 2008 at 12:38 AM · If there were one dimension or capability you would add to (or subtract from) a violin, what would it be?

I am thinking of how instruments have evolved, and what small changes have been made over history to lead to what we have now.

August 15, 2008 at 12:50 AM · Sorry, I wrote this on your blog. Here it is:

If he could put together his dream music festival, what would it be like?

August 15, 2008 at 01:08 AM · If you can play his violin? ;)

August 15, 2008 at 02:48 AM · From my son:

Do you have any pre-concert rituals/routines or superstitions?

August 15, 2008 at 11:52 AM · Does he hate people who don't use shoulder rests? :)

Has he ever played without a shoulder rest and what does he think of not using one.

How much has he experimented with different chinrests?

Is he still changing his setup, even today? If so, how does he decide what/when to change?

Does he ever practice without a shoulder rest?

Did Gingold use a shoulder rest?

What does he think of Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais? Has he ever taken either?

Can he describe a typical practice routine? Is there some exercise that has been particularly helpful for him?

How does he decide what/when to practice?

What does he do when he doesn't feel like practicing?

Some nonviolin questions...

Does he still play tennis? Who with?

Does he think Federer will turn things around?

Does he follow tennis?

How would he describe his basketball game? Does he still play?

Does he still play videogames? How about guitar hero?

August 15, 2008 at 11:58 AM · Was there ever a time in your childhood when you wanted to quit playing the violin or not practice for a while? If yes, then how was this overcome?

August 15, 2008 at 06:55 PM · Even as a world class soloist, do you have mentors and/or teachers that still offer suggestions on how to approach different pieces?

August 15, 2008 at 11:40 PM · Have you ever experienced problems with tension, especially in the back and shoulders? How do you go about relaxing those muscles before a performance?

Also, where do you see yourself 10, or even 20 years from now?

August 16, 2008 at 12:01 AM · I notice that I can hear you breathing on your CD

How important is this and your general all around physical health? What else do you do to keep in shape for playing your long difficult concerts?

August 16, 2008 at 12:13 AM · After busking in the D.C. Metro, have you ever thought to invite a professional busker to perform with you and an orchestra?

August 16, 2008 at 02:19 AM · How much do you adjust your play to the environment (room size aside, but things like temp & humidity), or do you play for tone and the sound, and let the details take care of themselves?

August 16, 2008 at 03:02 AM · Which of these three violinists you like the most ?

Yehudi Menuhin, Henryk Szering or Itzak Perlman

Why ?

August 16, 2008 at 05:19 AM · When did your absolute passion for violin start?

August 16, 2008 at 05:53 AM · Hello! Thank You for this opportunity! Just wanted to tell one interesting story!...

One time I just wanted to play some pieces on the street in the center of New York...everything was fine,people listened and took photos and gave some money...suddenly one man came closer to me and almost shouted: "I know You! Nice to meet You! You are Joshua Bell!!!"

My question is: When Joshua was younger,has he ever tried to play on the street something? I know, of course, about subway,but was it first experiance?

It will be nice to meet You in New York!


Margarita Krein

August 16, 2008 at 08:54 AM · What´s your honest opinion about the ToneRite device?

August 16, 2008 at 09:35 AM · How does he go about sizing up a student, someone entering college (Intermidiate & Advanced)? What do you do to know where to begin, what exercises, etc.?

How's parenthood? ;^)

August 16, 2008 at 04:21 PM · When are you going to collaborate again with Edgar Myer and Mark O'Connor? the Short Trip Home CD has been awhile back, when is the next one will be? Thank's!

August 16, 2008 at 05:04 PM · Are you still addicted to video games?

August 16, 2008 at 06:43 PM · Is there any particular concerto or other piece that you haven't yet performed which you really passionately want to add to your repertoire some day?

If you had to choose your most memorable concert ever, which one would it be? (Either as a player or audience member!)

August 16, 2008 at 07:25 PM · As a violinist that has premiered works by Edgar Meyer, Nicholas Maw, Jay Greenberg, Corigliano and other composers, could you comment on new music composed for violin? Could you share your insight as to musical expression in our time and details of music you would like to see composed featuring the violin?

August 16, 2008 at 11:50 PM · I guess I would ask him why he's had the same haircut since he was 8.

August 16, 2008 at 11:52 PM · When are you going to be on Oprah?

(Do people still watch Oprah?)

August 17, 2008 at 02:14 AM · Is it possible to play violin standing still?

August 17, 2008 at 02:50 AM · Ask him:

Do you think that you are a pretentious violin player?

August 17, 2008 at 03:10 AM · With the birth of your first child, how has that changed/not changed your philosophies in life/music and performing?

Have there been any changes to your interpretations in music or changes to the way you approach music inspired by your cihld's birth?

August 17, 2008 at 10:08 PM · What is your warm-up routine?

What are your favorite anecdotal (such as the 'one minute' bow stroke) Gingold exercises?

August 17, 2008 at 10:59 PM · What is your practice routine?

August 17, 2008 at 11:44 PM ·

August 18, 2008 at 09:19 AM · I miss on the website of Joshua Bell his repertoirelists of violinconcerto's. Why? Because every soloist has the same list with the well known violinconcerto's, which every conductor or programmer know, like 1th Shos, Tsjai, Brahms, Beethoven, 4seasons, etc?

1 year ago I gave him in Arnhem in the Netherlands 10 cd's with rare violinconcerto's.

Has he listened to these rare violinconcerto's and is he interested in rarities or considers he those as 2th rank violinconcerto's?

I gave him Lalo Concerto Russe Opus 29, Norwegian Fantasy, 3th vc of Hubay, 2th vc of Joseph Joachim (Rachel Barton and Christian Tetzlaf has it on their repertoirelist), 6th and 7th Vieuxtemps, violinconcerto of Ysaye played by Albrecht Breuninger, 2th, 3th and 4th vc of Karol Lipinski, Dohnanyi 1th and 2th violinconcerto.

Or is the reason that these pieces are seldom played in concerthalls or recorded is that they are good, but

1) There is no playing tradition of these pieces, because no big names in the past ever played them and their teachers also only know the evergreenviolinconcerto's

2) It is commercial not interesting to record them, because a cd of those pieces won't sell

3) Programmers think that the concerthall won't fill with people with these rarities although played by a big name like Joshua Bell

4) Soloists are more focussing on technical skills than on repertoireknowledge and don't like to listen to rare classical cd's, because as a professional they hear the whole day classical music.

5) The sheetmusic is hard to get

6) Their repertoirelist is long enough

Violinist Vadim Repin has recorded the rare violinconcerto of Myaskovsky (together with the well known Tsjaikovsky). Can we expect in the future a well known violinconcerto with a rarity on 1 cd of Joshua Bell?

For example Lalo Symphony Espagnole + Concerto Russe opus 29 (+ Norwegian Fantasy if there is still enough time avaible on the cd)

I have your cd of 3th Saint-Saens and Lalo Symph Espagnole, 2 well known pieces, but not of the same composer.

August 18, 2008 at 11:15 AM · Has his taste in instruments he chose to play changed over the years?

August 18, 2008 at 11:55 AM · When I interviewed Joshua Bell for my magazine, VIOLONetto, he didn't have much time; he was walking from one interview to another in NYC and had some time to chat in between. Anyway, I didn't have the time to ask him about his new son. Could you ask him something about that? Is he going to start the child on violin?

August 18, 2008 at 12:18 PM · ...

August 18, 2008 at 03:04 PM · Please ask Joshua Bell what kind of rosin and shoulder rest he uses. Also, does he remember a friend, Cornelius Chiu? I happened to meet Mr.Chiu and he said that he knew Joshua.

Thank you!

August 18, 2008 at 04:08 PM · He uses a Kun Bravo shoulder rest and the Bernardel Rosin.

August 18, 2008 at 09:26 PM · What was the biggest hurdle you've had to get over in your performance career? And what's your favorite video game?

August 19, 2008 at 01:15 PM · I've been curious about Joshua Bell's violin position. It seems unusually high on the shoulder, looks like it requires quite a stretch in the (right side of the) neck, bow reaching "up & over." Wondering if that just happened, was taught, was a conscious choice, etc. Sue

August 19, 2008 at 03:25 PM · Ask Joshua Bell if he'll come up to Alaska and visit me. I'll show him some good fishing and some grizzly bears.

August 19, 2008 at 03:30 PM · Here are a few I've collected from other JB fans on a different forum:

1. What is your inspiration?

2. What advice would you give to students today who are passionate, and are trying to pursue a life in music performance?

3. What advice can you give for producing a lush ringing tone that projects without sounding harsh, such as that of your own?

4. Which of your recordings do you like the best?

5. Do you have the intention to record an album with only (different kind of) film music in the future?

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