Joshua Bell Performs With LA Philharmonic

Superstar violinist Joshua Bell returns to the Hollywood Bowl stage to perform two beloved French works – Chausson’s Poeme and Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso – Tuesday, August 19, at 8 p.m. Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl Bramwell Tovey leads the LA Phil in a program that also includes Berlioz’ Hungarian March and Stravinsky’s Petrushka.

Berlioz’ found the theme for the “Rakoczy” March, the unofficial Hungarian national anthem named for the national hero that led the revolt against Hungary’s Austrian rulers, in a book he was given before a concert tour to Hungary. The composer claims he made his arrangement in a single night and was quite concerned about the Hungarian audience’s reaction to it. The overwhelmingly positive response was the impetus for Berlioz’ later use of the formidable March as the finale for Part I of La damnation de Faust.

Chausson developed his skill as a composer slowly and produced a limited number of compositions before his tragic death in a bicycle accident at the age of 44. His Poeme, written for his violinist friend Eugene Ysaye, showcases the composer’s talents as a gifted lyricist, a rhapsodist of impassioned refinement and a craftsman of security and control.

Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, dedicated to the Spanish violinist, Pablo de Sarasate, clearly illustrates the composer’s understanding of the art of music. The slow introduction features the violin’s lovely plaintive melody and the Rondo Capriccioso combines dash, virtuosity and songfulness in Saint-Saens’ most effective manner.

Stravinsky’s Petrushka, his second collaboration with set designer Alexandre Benois and choreographer Mikhail Fokine, takes the listener through four tableaux of action featuring the mischievous Petrushka. The character falls in love, is rejected and later murdered, only to return as a ghost with the recurring “Petrushka chord” giving him the last laugh.

Equally adept as soloist, chamber musician and orchestra leader, Joshua Bell has been captivating audiences worldwide with his poetic musicality for more than two decades. His restless curiosity and multifaceted musical interests have taken him in exciting new directions, that has earned him the rare title of “classical music superstar.” This former LA Phil On Location Artist and Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame inductee plays the 1713 Gibson ex Huberman Stradivarius.

A musician of striking versatility, BRAMWELL TOVEY is acknowledged around the world for his artistic depth and warm, charismatic personality on the podium. Tovey’s career as a conductor is uniquely enhanced by his work as a composer and pianist, lending him a remarkable musical perspective. His tenures as Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony, Luxembourg Philharmonic and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras have been characterized by his expertise in the opera, choral, and British repertoire.

Tovey recently garnered both a 2007 Grammy Award and Juno Award for his recording with violinist James Ehnes and the Vancouver Symphony. Tovey is the first artist to win a Juno in both conducting and composing. Recently named Principal Guest Conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, he works frequently with the Toronto Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, among many others. He has presided as host and conductor of the New York Philharmonic’s Summertime Classics series at Avery Fisher Hall since its founding in 2004. A champion of contemporary music, Tovey developed the highly regarded New Music Festival in Winnipeg, during his tenure as Music Director. As a composer, he was honored with the Best Canadian Classical Composition Juno Award in 2003 for his Requiem for a Charred Skull. His latest work Urban Runway, a co-commission for the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics’ respectively, premiered in July 2008.

He has also been commissioned to compose a full-length opera for the Calgary Opera entitled The Inventor, which will premiere in January 2011. Tovey has been awarded honorary degrees, including a Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Music in London, honorary Doctorates of Law from the universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, and Kwantlen University College, as well as a Royal Conservatory of Music Fellowship in Toronto. In 1999, he received the M. Joan Chalmers National Award for Artistic Direction, a Canadian prize awarded to artists for outstanding contributions in the performing arts.

JOSHUA BELL has captured the public’s imagination like no other classical violinist of his time. He came to national attention at the age of 14 in a highly acclaimed orchestral debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. A Carnegie Hall debut, the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and a recording contract further confirmed his presence in the music world. Bell’s 2008/09 season kicks off with the September world-wide Sony Classical release of Vivaldi: The Four Seasons recorded with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, his return to his alma mater – Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music as a senior lecturer, and the 10th anniversary DVD release of The Red Violin film featuring Bell on the Oscar-winning soundtrack for Best Original Score.

In addition, he will be featured on the soundtrack of the Paramount Vantage film Defiance to be released in December. An exclusive Sony Classical artist known for his breadth and daring choices of repertoire, Bell has created a richly varied catalogue of recordings. Recent releases include The Red Violin Concerto by John Corigliano, The Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, The Essential Joshua Bell, Voice of the Violin and Romance of the Violin which Billboard named the 2004 Classical CD of the Year, and Bell the Classical Artist of the Year. After a South American tour and summer festival performances at Aspen, Ravinia, Napa, Verbier, Cortona, Sun Valley and Tanglewood, Bell performs at the Hollywood Bowl. His 2008/09 performance season includes concerts with the New York Philharmonic, The Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony, in addition to the Indianapolis, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Seattle, Syracuse and Oregon orchestras. Bell will perform a recital tour in the United States with Jeremy Denk, while international dates include a tour with the Verbier UBS Festival Orchestra to Athens, Lisbon, Berlin and Munich performing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

He will also perform with the Spanish National Orchestra in Madrid, and in Paris with the Orchestra Philharmonic de Radio France. Bell closes 2008 with a performance at London’s Wigmore Hall. 2009 highlights include Miami’s New World Symphony, Lincoln Center Great Performers Series, and a European tour with the Minneapolis Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vanska. After a performance at the 92nd Street Y with long-time collaborator Steven Isserlis, he returns to Europe to tour with the Camerata Academia followed by a European recital tour with Jeremy Denk. Bell’s schedule continues with performances in Vancouver, Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, Denver and Phoenix. In addition to his concert career, Bell enjoys chamber music collaborations with artists such as Pamela Frank, Steven Isserlis and Edgar Meyer as well as occasional collaborations with artists outside the classical arena, having shared the stage with Josh Groban, James Taylor and Sting. He made his first recording at the age of 18, and he has an extensive catalogue of classical recordings resulting in a distinctive and wide-ranging body of work.

With more than 30 CDs recorded, Bell’s performances for Sony Classical film soundtracks include the Classical Brit-nominated Ladies in Lavender and Academy Award-winning film Iris, in an original score by James Horner. Bell has also appeared as himself in the film Music of the Heart starring Meryl Streep, and a number of television programs including Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show, CBS Sunday Morning and the PBS programs Great Performances—Joshua Bell: West Side Story Suite from Central Park. He was one of the first classical artists to have a music video air on VH1, and he has been the subject of a BBC Omnibus documentary. Bell has been profiled in publications ranging from Newsweek to People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” issue, Gramophone and The New York Times.

One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the HOLLYWOOD BOWL has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and in 1991 gave its name to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, a resident ensemble that has filled a special niche in the musical life of Southern California. The 2004 season introduced audiences to a revitalized Hollywood Bowl, featuring a newly-constructed shell and stage and the addition of four stadium screens enhancing stage views in the venue.

To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California's youngest patrons enjoy "SummerSounds: Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl," the Southland's most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 40th season. Attendance figures over the past several decades have soared: in 1980 the Bowl first topped the half-million mark and close to one million admissions have been recorded. In February 2008, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the fourth year in a row at the 19th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards. The Bowl's summer music festival has become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers, and Disneyland. -- www.laphil.com