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Violinist Joshua Bell hosts benefit in memory of his father, a Kinsey Institute researcher

A tribute to "the most interesting man I've ever known": Alan Bell

Joshua Bell, Musical America's 2010 Instrumentalist of the Year, opened his New York loft for a concert to benefit The Kinsey Institute earlier this month. The event honored Bell's father, Alan Bell, who was a research scientist at The Kinsey Institute from 1967-1981. Alan Bell passed away in 2002.

Joshua Bell

Violinist Joshua Bell addresses guests at a benefit for The Kinsey Institute in his New York City loft. Bell is an instructor at IU's Jacobs School of Music.

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Both Joshua Bell and his mother, Shirley Bell, spoke on the importance of the work of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction today, and on the legacy of Alan Bell -- researcher, psychologist, ex-minister, and in the words of his son, "the most interesting man I've ever known."

"We are so delighted to be able to move The Kinsey Institute forward in any way we can," said Shirley Bell. "Like the institute, our family's legacy combines arts and music, science and health. My husband would have been thrilled by this tribute."

Kinsey Institute Director Julia Heiman welcomed the 100 guests and described research and initiatives to advance sexual health and knowledge worldwide, including an international study of couples and new research on postpartum depression. Displays in the Bell home featured a video of selections from The Kinsey Institute unique library, art, artifacts, film and photography collections.

Alice Ginott Cohn, who was an IU student in the 1940's, enthralled guests with stories of Alfred Kinsey's lectures and what it was like to be interviewed by him.

"It was exciting to be at the beginning of Dr. Kinsey's research and to be a part of his investigation of female sexuality," she said. "I think he would be pleased to see what The Kinsey Institute has accomplished and is trying to accomplish even more in continuing research to help couples lead happy sexual lives."

Guests were treated to a stunning concert featuring works by Grieg and Chopin, and a rousing rendition of "Yankee Doodle." The guests included artists and muscisians such as Sony Music's General Manager Alex Miller and IU alumni from New York, California and Indiana. The Indiana alums included Kinsey Institute Board member and event co-organizer Dale Leff, Barry Gellers and the Eskenazi family of Indianapolis.

Michael Sherrod, chair of the Board of Governors of The Kinsey Institute, reminded the guests of the critical need for a research-based source for people to turn to for help with understanding issues related to sexuality and relationships.

"Sex affects each and every one of us in fundamental ways, yet so many sources of sex information come with their own commercial or special interests," he said. "We are so grateful that celebrated artists like Joshua Bell support the work of The Kinsey Institute."

This inaugural event raised $90,000 to support The Kinsey Institute's mission -- to advance sexual health and knowledge worldwide.

To read about the The Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show 2010, at the School of Fine Art Gallery through July, visit

To read about more studies from the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, visit .