Joshua Bell To Stulberg Competitors: "Be Yourself, And Let It Rip!"

May 10, 2017

Joshua Bell
Credit Shervin Lainez

Joshua Bell, a a top concert soloist for over three decades, still finds it hard to believe that the string competition he entered as a twelve-year old is now in its forty-second year. The Stulberg International String Competition will be held in Kalamazoo this Saturday.

In the interview, Bell remembers being pessimistic about his chances against the older competitors at the Stulberg, and how his fingers missed the fingerboard in the opening passages of Eduardo Lalo's Symphonie espagnole, prompting him to stop and ask to start over. That episode is now the subject of a children's book, The Dance of the Violin, a follow up to The Man With The Violin, which was based on Bell's hour-long stint as a subway musician. Bell also touches on his meaningful relationship with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, for which he serves as music director.

In another interview, Margaret Hamilton, the director of the Stulberg Competition, joined Cara Lieurance to preview the competition and its surrounding events. It's an inside look at the planning and process of the competition, which has launched the nascent careers of hundreds of musicians over the years. 

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