Joshua Bell on Oprah: We have GOT to be close to breaking point

April 1, 2006 at 05:08 AM · Hey everyone,

I have continued to e-mail Oprah about getting Joshua Bell on her show in the absence of this discussion on here. You? I really REALLY want this to happen, especially after the genuine e-mail I got from Joshua Bell.

Some of you think is about Joshua being on the show. That it is not. It is about America not really realizing that classical is a genre they might be interested in or even paying it any heed! If you need ideas or clarification on what this is about, then go to my blog and read my letter to Gayle King. You have to scroll down a bit, but it'll help!

If you have e-mailed before, thank you so much and please do it again ;-) If you have not, really weigh the reasons and decide for yourself what you think about the subject and post it!

Replies (105)

March 31, 2006 at 08:48 PM · What a brilliant scheme! Yes, I e-mail her with you. A lot.

Geez, you certainly make a lot of typos. ;-)

The correct version:

Some of you think is about Joshua being on the show. That it is not. It is about America not really realizing that classical is a genre they might be interested in! Something that, if they actually paid it any heed, would capture their fancy. I think that JB would make a great representative. If you need ideas or clarification on what this is about, then go to my blog and read my letter to Gayle King. You have to scroll down a bit, but it'll help!

April 1, 2006 at 09:59 AM · Gee, you're not the right person to criticize her grammar! Your grammar is just as bad! :)

The EVEN MORE correct version:

Some of you think that this is about Joshua being on the show; it is not that. It is about America not fully realizing that classical music is a genre that they might actually be interested in! Something that, if they actually paid it any heed, might capture their fancy. I think that JB would make a great representative. If you need ideas or clarification on what this is about, then go to my blog and read my letter to Gayle King. You have to scroll down a bit, but it'll help!

Sorry, just had to do that! Hope you're not suffering from any erm, multiple personalities, hehe.

April 1, 2006 at 12:20 PM · So JB e-mailed you asking you to help him get on Oprah?

April 1, 2006 at 02:51 PM · What did the email from Joshua Bell say?

April 1, 2006 at 05:12 PM · I don't want to c/p the JB-mail, but I'll summarize some of it. Were you here for the JB Scandal? If not, then you can look at my blog. He was talking about how the internet was a easy place to be tricked and that it had happened to him before, etc. And then thanks for trying to suggest him for Oprah. Sure he would like to be on the show, he is a fan of hers, the context would have to be right, etc.

There you go!

April 2, 2006 at 08:53 AM · Sydney,

from what seems to be what he wrote to you, I could deduce the gist in two words: no thanks:) I hope I am wrong.


April 2, 2006 at 11:12 AM · Josh thinks he owns my radio. I want to hear my friends. Get off my radio biotch.

April 2, 2006 at 06:42 PM · Ilya - I think you are wrong. Hehe, sorry. I could send you the actual message if you would like. That or when you see him next, you could ask him. ;-)

April 2, 2006 at 07:23 PM · Sydney,

last time I saw him he recommended this steak place which wasn't very good. I don't think we are on speaking terms


April 2, 2006 at 07:56 PM · Ilya...

Don't tell me it was Luger's....

April 2, 2006 at 08:30 PM · Fine, fine Ilya. I'll post a part of his letter up here for your scrutiny.

In answer to your question - sure I would like to be on Oprah's show. I am always happy if I can at least try to represent classical music in a positive way to a mainstream audience.

So, what do you think now?

April 3, 2006 at 10:59 AM · Don't call us - we'll call you

April 3, 2006 at 09:51 PM · why don't you just buy him a ticket to the taping and have him stage-dive after the commercial break ends?

April 4, 2006 at 12:40 PM · That's a good idea, but I don't know...are you SURE it's not illegal? Hehehe.

April 4, 2006 at 06:00 PM · I've send the message because I think it is a fantastic idea. I'm a great fan and listen every night to his recordings when I get to bed. Even though it will take forever before we will see that Oprah show in my country South africa but I really liked your iniative, So there, done

April 5, 2006 at 06:38 AM · Dear Sir, Madam,

On a discussion launched on wether you should invite Joshua Bell for a show. I think the idea laying behind this is great. Your show helps to form culture, not only in your own country (in which I studied at Juilliard for 6 years) but way beyond the borders. You have made reading through Oprah's bookclub a "hot" item again. As you know in the classical music world we are struggling. Orchestra's are put out of business, halls are increasingly empty and public schools across the world have to cut their music program. Lots of young people are passionate about bringing classical music back into business. Many schools such as Juilliard go into the community to serve and bring joy through this music. Please help us in our try to not let classical music vanish from our culture, it being reduced to one shelve at Barnes and Nobles. There are so many wonderfull things to discover. Please contact me if you would need more information.

Yours sincerely,

Carla Leurs, violinist

April 5, 2006 at 02:13 PM · Thanks, you two. Carla, great letter!

April 6, 2006 at 04:25 PM · SNAIL MAIL ADDRESS FOR OPRAH!!!!! I'm writing her a letter. If any of you want to help out the cause, that would be great. Here is the address:

Oprah Winfrey

HARPO Productions

P.O. Box 909715

Chicago, IL 60607

April 6, 2006 at 05:12 PM · What is your obsession with having Joshua Bell on Oprah?

I don't understand what good it would do.

April 6, 2006 at 06:07 PM · She wants to get JB on the show to increase the popularity of real, good classical music. I think it's not a bad idea at all--if Oprah can get half the country reading Lev Tolstoy and Elie Wiesel, surely she can get people to listen to a bit of Brahms. I think it's a good idea....but can we get Maxim Vengerov on too? :) lol

April 6, 2006 at 07:36 PM · I still think IP would be better for the Oprah crowd...

April 6, 2006 at 09:10 PM · Who is IP? Sorry.

April 6, 2006 at 09:11 PM · Perlman.

April 6, 2006 at 09:42 PM · Perlman would be good too. He's really funny!

April 6, 2006 at 10:57 PM · I have a bit of a reservation and resentment toward people who "dislike" music. They are, quite frankly, ignorant at best, or dumb for the most part.

Oprah and her people don't differ much in this respect. Hell! "Classical" music has been around for over 400 years and is still continuing to live (Ms. Leurs' comments notwithstanding; she is absolutely right, but not to worry, WE will develop its next faze and revive it to be the greatest thing "that happened" to the next generations); young whippersnappers like Oprah is, cannot diminish its importance.

The difference is that these ignorant people rule the media and would rather thrash and gyrate in the most nauseating ways, in 4 inch heels to...Britney Simpson or Madonna Clarkson...and call that “music.”

Some of you are old enough to remember the “King of Comedy,” Johnny Carson, hosting Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg—A COUPLE OF TIMES!—and it did not seem to affect his ratings. On the contrary!

I think we should make a collective case to Oprah, or to others (Frankly, screw her! She is not worth her hide if she can ignore such a crucial aesthetic that is timeless. It is struggling—YOU HAVE THE POWER, YOU MUST TAKE ACTION TO PROMOTE IT!), and work along the lines of petitions. A collective voice is heard rather better than individual voices (we should know that—we live with choral music every day; everybody knows a chorus sounds stronger than five soloists singing in unison).

As for the choice of representative for us to the world, Joshua Bell, though I detest his “playing” (if it must be called that), I think he is an exquisite choice. Yitzhak Perlman is a bit old to be inviting enough to the “young” audience; although he is the consummate television personality—great at what he does, sweet, warm and hilarious.

Many times I thought about this subject, but with a different violinist. Hilary Hahn. Stuffy, stuck up, lousy sounding and arrogant as she is, I had this feeling that she would make a good representative for us; but your choice is better.

Maestro Gringolts too is a great choice, as is Maxim Vengerov.

There is another great violinist I’d suggest, however. Rachel Barton Pine, who is a master beyond many of the popular stars who are mentioned here on this website, lives in Chicago too (from where Oprah airs her show), and is well known for her educational impact on youth. Her crossover habits too, are legendary—she is known as much for her Heavy-Metal infatuation, as for her “Classical” infatuation. Also, she has embarked on a uniquely American-style “interracial” quest for music of “Black composers.”

In fact we have corresponded before about her exquisite CD (on the Cedille label) on which she plays three violin concerti by prominent Black composers of the 18th and 19th centuries. (I have corresponded with Joshua Bell too; he was most gracious, which is more than I can say about his sorry playing.)

Happy listening!


"A Berliozian and Davidsbundler"

April 7, 2006 at 01:22 AM · Just what do you and classical music have to offer exactly?

April 7, 2006 at 01:15 PM · After visiting a doctor a few years ago, I asked him 'knowledgable' questions (I had been studying up after all) pertaining to my visit.

He said, and he was serious: "Be careful. You know just enough to be dangerous."

He did not mean that I knew a lot.

April 7, 2006 at 03:33 PM · Maybe we should try to convince Ilya to go on Oprah.

April 7, 2006 at 05:44 PM · Haha, Ilya...I'm sure he'd be great too. I've never heard any interviews with him, unfortunately. Man, I still can't get over his Paganini Caprices! Wow. Wow. Wow.

I must remind you, there is no problem with musicians wanting to, however, there has been trouble with Oprah asking them.

April 7, 2006 at 06:33 PM · It's a tough nut. She's too rich to pay off. Hey, there's an interview of Ilya reprinted from Strad magazine that you can find on the web. It's interesting.

April 7, 2006 at 06:32 PM · If Ilya is as funny in real life as he is on here, he'd bring the house down! :)

April 7, 2006 at 07:37 PM · and if that doesn't work there's always his vast WMD collection.

April 7, 2006 at 08:05 PM · *Groan*.....

April 7, 2006 at 08:10 PM · He peaked with Scotch fantasy/ whiskey reality.

April 8, 2006 at 03:29 PM · Hey guys, guess what? I had wanted to do this for a while, but I didn't have time. Anyway, if you google "Joshua Bell," this discussion is the first link on the 5th page of results that comes up! Wow.

April 8, 2006 at 11:47 PM · Maybe you could get life-size cutouts of Josh holding his instrument in Wal-Marts worldwide (like Chuck Mangione in the Mega-Lo-Marts on "King of the Hill")

April 9, 2006 at 11:49 AM · Hey y'all, if you want to help out the cause, visit this discussion. All support is appriciated!

Thanks, Leni.

April 9, 2006 at 03:08 PM · Come on Sydney, we all know you google Josh before you brush you teeth


April 9, 2006 at 03:47 PM · Before I brush my teeth?! *eyes Ilya incredulously*

April 9, 2006 at 04:59 PM · No, Ilya, she brushes her teeth first, just in case.

April 9, 2006 at 05:26 PM · Yeah, Emily's right. Haha, you two crack me up! BTW, I found the interview with Ilya in Strings Magazine. Check this out:

During a midnight phone interview from his Swedish hotel room, an exhausted Gringolts fights off jet lag after a daylong recording session to discuss his approach to Bach, as well as the role of Russian composers in his career and his intense love of modern music.

Awww, how nice of you Ilya! ;) No, seriously, you're amazing.

April 9, 2006 at 08:17 PM · Ilya...

So do you.

April 12, 2006 at 12:11 AM · here's a thought, why Bell? Why not someone like the 5 Browns? They really have alot about them that I think Opra might find interesting. They are very young, and really work to get classical music out to teenagers and young adults. They're even involved with VH1's Save the Music to bring music programs back to school. They're differnt and "cool" it might be even a bigger pull than Bell would be (if we are talking about raising awarness about classical musicians, and do away with the powdered wig image that comes to offence to Bach!)The 5 Browns are of course a pretty big novelty as well, and really are an eye catcher.

April 12, 2006 at 12:43 AM · I think Nigel would actually be perfect for the job. No smileys whatsoever.


April 12, 2006 at 04:16 AM · Greetings,

but he`d probably wreck the studio afterwards...



April 12, 2006 at 08:09 AM · The 5 Browns HAVE been on Oprah! Although, it was about them and not so much classical music. Kennedy? Hmmm, perhaps...

April 12, 2006 at 09:30 AM · The problem with the 5 Browns is they're coming up, so naturally it'll be about them. The problem with Nigel is if it wasn't scripted just so, the audience would be thinking why you showin me dis ol' punkass dude for? I'm not sure what kind of influence he'd have on young people. Kind of the opposite of the Browns strategy:)

April 12, 2006 at 01:16 PM · Exactly. Perfectly put, Jim.

April 12, 2006 at 01:20 PM · Jim,

Young people like old punk-ass dudes who wear different color socks and cuss better than well-spoken suit-clad 40yo, no?


April 12, 2006 at 01:30 PM · I don't know too much about Kennedy. Anyone want to fill me in? Has he done a lot of crossover stuff? I have two of his CDs (Kreisler and Classic).

Ilya, you're going to be at Verbier! AHHH! I want to go so bad (to the Academy too)! Ah well, I suppose there's always next year.

April 13, 2006 at 05:20 AM · It's not necessarily either / or.

When I see someone under 55 in a suit I think catastrophe waiting to happen.

Nigel would work. Just have to make him come off like Bono somehow.

April 13, 2006 at 05:51 AM · O... so he must come off as preachy, self absorbed, and a walking contradiction?

April 13, 2006 at 05:53 AM · Dude, it's what sells.

April 15, 2006 at 05:34 PM · Ilya! Someone randomly sent me pictures from a big violinist convention (or something, I don't know) and Joshua Bell is there and YOU are there! So you really did meet him. I think you are drinking something, lol...

April 15, 2006 at 06:04 PM · But Ilyusha said he hates vodka....

April 15, 2006 at 06:04 PM · Oh yeah, and post those pics willya? :)

April 15, 2006 at 06:35 PM · No vodka, I think it was sambuca, although I never actually said that I didn't drink vodka, did I?


April 15, 2006 at 06:41 PM · See my blog... :-) Gotcha, Ilya.

April 15, 2006 at 07:28 PM · Ha! Nice pic! BTW Ilya I don't remember what thread it was on but I remember your post because it was really funny (though it makes no sense out of context):

"I have religious beliefs against allergies. And am allergic to religious beliefs. And I still hate vodka."

Nah, I don't memorize your posts or anything, but that one just stuck in my head for whatever reason. Na zdorovye! :)

April 15, 2006 at 07:38 PM · Maura,

Yes, I do remember saying I hated it, but there was nothing there about drinking it


April 15, 2006 at 08:40 PM · LOL Ilyusha! :)

April 15, 2006 at 09:27 PM · I remember when I drank my first full bottle Sambucca...

To this day the smell of licorice chills me to my bones and makes my skin crawl.

April 15, 2006 at 09:33 PM · So how did the second full bottle go over then?


April 15, 2006 at 10:26 PM · Ilya,

I just remember waking up next to the pool at a friend of a friend's house. I remember nothing else.

April 16, 2006 at 08:17 AM · Man, now I don't know if I should be looking forward to this! I turn drinking age on July 12....

BTW - I took the pic off my blog. Where was that, Ilya?

April 16, 2006 at 04:58 PM · Verbier?


April 16, 2006 at 05:36 PM · Sydney,

You are in Germany. Their drinking age is a mere suggestion. Trust me...

April 17, 2006 at 05:33 AM · Greetings,


> just remember waking up next to the pool at a friend of a friend's house. I remember nothing else.

Pool of what?

I remember waking up in a tree after homebrewed Belgium beer. Does that count?



April 17, 2006 at 09:56 AM · I have the worst luck ever. Ever. EVER!

You're probably right, Ilya. I bet that was V******.

You're right Pieter. They would give beer/vodka/alcohol in general to anyone who wanted it (I've seen it done). "Drinking age" (HA!) is 16 here. The kids here are in awe and very afraid of the 21 year-old drinking age.

April 17, 2006 at 10:24 AM · Burp

April 17, 2006 at 06:21 PM · Buri,

Yes. Adventures like the one you described certainly count.

PS. Luckily the pool was comprised of water.

April 17, 2006 at 08:07 PM · Luckily you were lying next to it.


April 17, 2006 at 08:29 PM · But isn't alcohol lighter than water? If he was that plastered maybe he'd float anyway. :)

April 17, 2006 at 10:11 PM · I don't know, but it definitely feels heavier.


April 17, 2006 at 10:26 PM · So you have lots of first-hand knowledge? :)

April 17, 2006 at 10:44 PM · sadly


April 17, 2006 at 11:21 PM · Of course he has a lot of first hand knowledge. He comes from a nation of people with pickled liver. Only someone with at least 30oz of vodka in them would think than the whole Banya spiel is actually a good idea.

April 18, 2006 at 12:04 AM · *groan*...and also from the Nation of Pickled Livers: Oistrakh, Kogan, Repin, Vengerov, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, shall I go on?

April 18, 2006 at 01:30 AM · Maura,

Are you trying to make some type of point?

April 18, 2006 at 01:39 AM · Pieter,

You actually are required to have at least 30oz to think


April 18, 2006 at 02:06 AM · Then I'd be considered quite the intellectual.

April 18, 2006 at 02:18 AM · It's at moments like this that I'm reminded of that famous, drunken philosopher, Rene Descartes and his immortal phrase, "I drink, therefore I am."


April 18, 2006 at 02:51 AM · Pieter,

I was just a bit annoyed by your snide remark about Russians. But I was in a bad mood anyway, and feeling better now, so don't worry about it. It was kind of funny! :)

Now I suppose I should relate a story I heard from one of my former teachers about his teacher Jascha Brodsky, and HIS teacher Eugene Ysaye. Apparently Jascha, about twenty years old and Ysaye's student, was about to go onstage for a big concert, and was nervous as hell. Ysaye decided to share a "stage fright remedy" that he had been using for years: a big shot of vodka. Well, Ysaye was a big guy, and Brodsky was a skinny, short little guy about a third of Ysaye's size. What was the proper dose for the Maestro turned out to be quite overpowering for the student, and the next thing Jascha knew, he woke up at home with a splitting headache. On top of all that, everyone he talked to that day congratulated him on his wonderful performance.


April 18, 2006 at 03:57 AM · Maura,

I don't see how my remark hinted at any antagonism towards Russian people. I thought that anyone could see it was a banal comment with nothing behind it.

April 18, 2006 at 07:12 AM · Wow you guys. Whoever thought...

A well, there's no point in me intervening. Have your fun!

April 18, 2006 at 11:01 AM · Sydney, are YOU close to breaking point ?!!!

April 18, 2006 at 02:02 PM · Pieter,

of course I see it was just a silly banal comment. Like I said, I was in a snit over some trivial little thing and blowing absolutely stinking everything out of proportion. :) I'm not mad at you or anything! :)

April 18, 2006 at 03:17 PM · Benny - I very well may be! I prefer to think not ;-)

May 7, 2006 at 10:57 PM · I am after speaking to Joshua after a beautiful all Schubert recital he gave this evening with Jeremy Denk, and...the answer is YES definitely YES, Joshua would like to go on the Oprah show !

So now it's up to Oprah ! Keep at it Sydney and your dream will come true !!

May 8, 2006 at 02:16 PM · Wow! Wow!! What did he actually say?! Do you remember? Thanks for clearing that up for everyone on here (*ahem* Laurie *AHEM* Ilya :-) ).

May 8, 2006 at 05:05 PM · Sorry this is not just about America, it is about youth in general to get them excited about a musical instrument. Has anyone ever heard about a violent vilonist?It makes youngsters feel and listen and have an aim. Of course it would be easier with Joshua Bell on the program than any old man or women so please let him roll on, Ophra.

May 8, 2006 at 05:38 PM · why don't you ask joshua bell to invite oprah out to his next concert in chicago and give her complimentary seating? that way she can see for herself what classical music is and does.

May 8, 2006 at 05:54 PM · Hey D, that is pure genius! Why didn't you mention it sooner?!?!??! :-)

May 8, 2006 at 08:14 PM · I am afraid people will stop listening to Josh once the word gets out that Oprah is in the audience


May 8, 2006 at 09:22 PM · Wow, Ilya. Looking out for Josh now, eh? Would word get out? Keep it secret. Keep it safe.

Whew! Just finished the letter to that main producer! I put my blood, tears, and sweat (not to mention lack of sleep) into that thing! Colleen can attest to that. All I can say is they had better read, appriciate, and take me up on that offer that I gave them.

May 8, 2006 at 09:43 PM · Sydney !

Blood Sweat n'Tears - do they still rock ? Great band.

Btw, Joshua will appear in MeckiPommes! i.e. the Mecklenburg Vorpommern Festival. Will check it out.

Tschüss, Hansjürgen

May 8, 2006 at 11:34 PM · Blood Sydney?

Careful, you're one more bodily fluid away from a restraining order.

May 9, 2006 at 12:04 AM ·

May 9, 2006 at 12:08 AM · something very strange is going on with this computer.

.............................Bravo Sydney,

That is how you get make dreams happen!

May 9, 2006 at 12:10 AM · indeed. Die thread die.

May 9, 2006 at 12:10 AM · #1

May 9, 2006 at 12:02 AM · I would like to know how some people are able to post an entry after a thread has been closed and archived. ?

May 9, 2006 at 12:22 AM · Now that my semester ends, I think I'll purchase a ticket to go to Chicago and pester Oprah in person... Let her know that she has an opportunity to make The Arts cool again...and host a guy who was considered one of the "sexiest men alive" the last decade or so by the world wide media... Right up there with George Clooney and Tom Cruise.

I'm so damn fired up!

May 9, 2006 at 04:00 AM · I would still like to know how some people are able to post an entry after a thread has been closed and archived. ?

May 9, 2006 at 12:02 AM · :)

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