Performing Arts: Thrilled by Bell

Violinist lives up to the hype in his performance at Strathmore.

Joshua Bell and author (Photo by Chris Burch)

There is nothing worse than going to a performance and feeling disappointed after a lot of media hype. Listeners who attended the November 1 concert by Joshua Bell certainly did not have to worry about that. Presented by the Washington Performing Arts Society, the violin virtuoso performed a dynamic program of showpieces accompanied by pianist .

WPAS president brought greetings on behalf of the organization and spoke fondly of Bell’s relationship with Washington, D. C. The concert hall at The Music Center Strathmore was bustling with excitement as eager fans awaited the arrival of the violinist on stage.

Looking relaxed in all black, Bell began his program of works by Schubert, Franck and Prokofiev. It was an evening of music that kept the attention of the audience from start to finish. Schubert’s “Rondo Brillant in B minor” immediately asserted the virtuoso’s renowned musical prowess, showcasing the precision and technical facility of his playing.  The beauty of the violin’s sound was particularly radiant in the long phrases of Franck’s “Violin Sonata in A Major.”

In contrast, his playing in Prokofiev’s “Sonata No. 2 in D Major, Op. 94” was of interest not so much for its tone quality, but for the charismatic nature that he brought to his performance. The pianist of the evening, Sam Haywood, was with Bell at every beat, providing an accompaniment that was sensitive, yet full of wonderful nuances. It was wonderful to not only see the collaboration between the two musicians, but feel it in the music. Following several rousing ovations, Bell delighted the audience with the “Melodie” by Tchaikovsky as an encore.

The violinist is profiled in this month’s issue of the Washington Life. You can also read a short interview with Bell here.

Petersburg, Va. native Patrick D. McCoy received a B.M. in vocal performance from Virginia State University and an M.M. in church music from the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Va. He has contributed arts and culture pieces to CBS Washington, The Afro-American Newspaper and the newly published book, “In Spite of the Drawbacks” (Association of Black Women Historians), which includes his chapter on legendary soprano Leontyne Price. McCoy has interviewed some of the most acclaimed artists of our time, including Denyce Graves, Norman Scribner, Julian Wachner, Christine Brewer and Lawrence Brownlee. Listen to these interviews and others at Blog Talk Radio. McCoy may be reached via email at wlperformingarts@aol.com and on Twitter @PatrickDMcCoy.

patrickmccoy

Recently named among the Forty Under 40 for his contributions to arts and humanities, Patrick D. McCoy received a B.M. in vocal performance from Virginia State University and a M.M. in church music from the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Va. , where he serves on the alumni board of directors. He has contributed arts and culture pieces to CBS Washington, The Afro-American Newspaper and the newly published book, “In Spite of the Drawbacks” (Association of Black Women Historians), which includes his chapter on legendary soprano Leontyne Price. McCoy has interviewed some of the most acclaimed artists of our time, including Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell, Martina Arroyo, Denyce Graves, Eric Owens, Norman Scribner, Julian Wachner, Christine Brewer and Lawrence Brownlee. He is music director at Trinity Episcopal Church, DC. Listen to these interviews and others at Blog Talk Radio. Additionally, he is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America. McCoy may be reached via email at wlperformingarts@aol.com and on Twitter @PatrickDMcCoy.

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1 Response

  1. Vivienne Fraijo says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful evening. I can honestly say! When Joshua Bell takes the stage, the audience can feel that excitement in the air!

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