John R. Emens Auditorium
Monday, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for students
In 2007, Joshua Bell disguised himself wearing a baseball cap and jeans while playing his violin in a Washington, D.C. metro station during rush hour.
About 1,000 people passed by him during his 45-minute performance. Of the 27 people who tipped his performance, only seven people stopped to listen. By the end of his performance, Bell collected $32.17 and only one person actually recognized him.
The experiment, titled “Stop and Hear the Music,” sparked conversation about art and context and earned Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten a Pulitzer Prize award.
“When it comes to the music, I want the audience to come away loving the pieces as much as I do,” Bell said. “I want them to feel like they went on a journey and come away a bit better of a person. I also want them to feel like I have been generous with them.”
Bell is often referred to as “the poet of the violin.” He performed for President Obama at Ford’s Theatre and the White House, recently returning to the Capital to perform for Vice President Biden and Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China.
The Ball State and Muncie communities are now in for a special, classical music treat when Bell visits John R. Emens Auditorium for his performance Monday evening.
Kristi Chambers, Emen’s Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications, said bringing Joshua Bell to the auditorium will be a wonderful opportunity for the campus and community.
“Joshua Bell is one of the world’s most celebrated violinists and we are honored to be able to have him perform at Emens,” Chambers said. “For our 50th Anniversary, we have adapted the violin as our theme instrument this season and what better performer than Joshua Bell and his 300-year-old, $3.5 million Stradivarius violin to follow our theme.”
Bell performs on the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius violin and uses a late 18th century French bow made by Francois Tourte.
Special documents showed that the violin dated back to 1646-1737 as one of the 1,116 string instruments Antonio Stradivari crafted in his lifetime.
His instrument also dates back to a 1936 robbery in New York City. The rare instrument was stolen during a performance from virtuoso Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman at Carnegie Hall.
When Bell learned that the instrument was to be sold as a museum piece in Summer 2001, he knew he had to have it. He bought it for $4 million and used it when he played the Oscar-winning score for the film, “The Red Violin.”
A native of Bloomington, Ind., Bell had his first violin lesson at the age of four after his parents noticed him plucking rubber bands stretched around his dresser drawer handles.
By the age of seven, he had his first orchestral performance experience with the Bloomington Symphony. He received an Artist Diploma in Violin Performance from Indiana University in 1989.
Since then, Bell has been named an “Indiana Living Legend” and has been awarded the Indiana Governor’s Arts Award.
Joshua Bell will perform at 7:30 p.m. in John R. Emens Auditorium tonight. Tickets are still available and cost $10 for students with an ID.