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Last modified: Monday, June 9, 2003

Joshua Bell to return home for benefit performance

Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell will return home for a benefit concert at the Indiana University School of Music on June 24 at 8 p.m. in the Musical Arts Center.

The concert is one of the premier attractions of the school's 2003 Summer Music Festival and will support the Alan P. Bell Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is named after the performer's late father, a former IU professor.

Bell, who was born in Bloomington in 1967 and holds an Artist Diploma from IU, will return to the Musical Arts Center for the first time in nearly three years. In recent years, he has solidified his worldwide reputation as a classical music superstar, capturing multiple Grammy Awards, including the award for Best Classical Engineered Recording in 2001 for his recording of West Side Story Suite, a collection of Leonard Bernstein songs. His work on the critically acclaimed film The Red Violin helped it win the 1999 Academy Award for Best Original Score.

On June 24 in Bloomington, he will team up with London-born pianist and frequent touring partner Simon Mulligan to perform selected works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Schubert, Maurice Ravel and Pablo de Sarasate.

By now, Bell's story is well known. Born and raised in Bloomington, Ind., he began playing the violin at age four when his parents bought him his first violin, after they noticed him plucking tunes on rubber bands that he had stretched around the handles of his dresser drawers. By 12, he was a prodigious violin student of renowned IU violinist Josef Gingold.

Bell first came to national attention at age 14 when he made his highly acclaimed orchestral debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. That performance, soon followed by his Carnegie Hall debut and a subsequent recording contract, created a sensation that spread throughout the music world.

Now in his 30s, Bell has performed with nearly every leading symphony orchestra and conductor, recorded 26 albums and appeared on numerous television broadcasts. Earlier this year, he was one of five people to receive the 2003 Indiana Governor's Arts Award from Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon. In 2000, the Indiana Historical Society presented him with the Indiana Living Legend Award.

Mulligan has been touring with Bell since 1998, performing worldwide at major concert halls and events, including a live broadcast at the 2002 Grammy Awards ceremony. He performs and records internationally as a solo pianist and chamber musician and recently signed a multi-album deal with Sony Classical.

General admission tickets for the concert are available for $20 ($10 for IU students) at the Musical Arts Center box office, TicketMaster at 812-333-9955, or online at http://www.music.indiana.edu/publicity/summer_fest/tickets.shtml.

For a complete listing of the School of Music's Summer Music Festival events, visit http://www.music.indiana.edu/publicity/summer_fest/.