Joshua Bell Wins $75,000 Avery Fisher Prize

Classic Arts News   Joshua Bell Wins $75,000 Avery Fisher Prize
Violinist Joshua Bell has been awarded this year's Avery Fisher Prize, worth $75,000.

The award will be presented on April 10 at an event at Lincoln Center's Kaplan Penthouse; the Avery Fisher Career Grants (one of which which Bell won back in 1986) will also be given at that time.

Bell started playing the violin at age 4 and made his orchestral debut at 14 with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Now approaching 40, the Indiana native is trying his hand at conducting.

He has already led the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra from the concertmaster position, and he will conduct Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields on a European tour next month, from April 17-29. Before that, on April 1 at Carnegie Hall, he be the soloist with the Academy in Vivaldi's Four Seasons and then lead the ensemble in two works by Tchaikovsky.

Regarding the Avery Fisher Prize, Bell told the AP, "It's nice getting awards when you least expect it because it's not an award you try for or audition for, or even know if you're nominated for. So it's a very nice surprise."

He might just be putting the award money towards the cost of a new violin. Bell owns a 1713 Stradivarius, the "Gibson ex Huberman," but hopes to someday purchase a Guarneri del Gesù, one of the even rarer instruments whose owners have included Itzhak Perlman and Jascha Heifetz.

The first Avery Fisher Prize, then $5,000, was awarded in 1975. Previous winners include cellist Lynn Harrell and pianist Murray Perahia (1975); cellist Yo-Yo Ma (1978); pianist Richard Goode (1980); clarinetist Richard Stoltzman (1986); violinists Sarah Chang, Pamela Frank and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg (1999); double bassist Edgar Meyer and clarinetist David Shifrin (2000); violinist Midori (2001); and the Emerson String Quartet (2004).

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