Classical and More

The Fine Fiddling of Joshua Bell

But would you stop if you heard him on the street?

By Allison Williams November 7, 2011

Joshua Bell, probably playing the devil for his soul in this shot.

Photo by Eric Kabik

Watch out for hyper-talented buskers, Tacoma. Joshua Bell, one of the most famous violinists in the world, is playing the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday night, and he’s known for more than his onstage performances. In 2007 he donned street clothes and played his $3.5 million Stradivarius in a Washington, DC Metro station, and almost no one noticed. (Though he did score $32.17 in tips, and the Washington Post article about the stunt won a Pulitzer. Not a total loss.)

Sure, Bell probably won’t be doing any secret busking on this trip—he flies in for a program with the Tacoma Philharmonic that’s tailored to his particular talents. Four violin sonatas are on tap: one each by Mendelssohn and Beethoven, Cesar Franck’s late-19th century Violin Sonata in A Major, and Eugene Ysaye’s 20th-century Ballade.

If allegro vivace doesn’t do it for you there are plenty of other reasons to catch Bell, either in Tacoma this week or with the Seattle Symphony on January 10. The hottie 43-year-old fiddler is known for his floppy, Bieber-like hair (watch it fly!), but also holds champion scores for the computer pinball game Crystal Caliburn and once paraglided into an outdoor concert.

Check out Bell’s DC busking below. Better than our local Pike Place musicians? It’s a close call, but Bell should probably keep his day job.

Violinist Joshua Bell plays Tacoma’s Broadway Center for the Performing Arts on Nov 9.

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