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Award-winning violinist to visit Waco

Sept. 10, 2003

By Lindsey Gomez, reporter

On Sept. 29 a Grammy-award winning violinist and one of People Magazine's

'50 Most Beautiful People' will perform with the Waco Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. in Waco Hall.

Joshua Bell is a renowned classical music artist who has received recognition from people both inside and outside the genre. He received the Grammy for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra for his recording of West Side Story Suite. Bell also played the solo violin music in the film The Red Violin, which won the Oscar for Best Original Score at the 72nd Annual Academy Awards.

Stephen Heyde, conductor and music director of the Waco Symphony Orchestra, and Mary Franks Thompson, professor of orchestral studies and Baylor's conductor in residence, described Bell as a noteworthy person and musician.

'Bell is a superstar in the classical music world,' Heyde said. 'He's well rounded...his music can touch your heart.'

Bell, 34, also has been profiled on A&E's Biography, and he has performed with artists such as Nicolas Maw and James Taylor.

Music does not consume all Bell's time. He also has served as adjunct professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, spending time producing high-tech toys and instruments. He also enjoys and excels at tennis. At age 10, Bell earned fourth place at a national tennis tournament.

Bell will visit Baylor's music students and answer their questions on the day of the concert. Many music students said they are excited to meet someone who inspires them.

'The students are excited,' Heyde said. ' They have his recordings. He's one of their role models.'

Some of Baylor's Symphony students are also in the Waco Symphony Orchestra and will play with Bell during the concert.

Heyde said Baylor students should attend the concert and any concert presented by the Baylor School of Music because they can learn about new things from different types of events.

'Students can become acquainted with the whole spectrum [of music and student life],' Heyde said.

Susan Taylor, executive director for the Waco Symphony Orchestra, said Bell stays busy playing for audiences worldwide.

'After trying for 10 years, this is the first time that Joshua Bell will perform with the Waco Symphony Orchestra,' Taylor said.

Bell will perform Torke Javelin, Tchaikovsky Symphony No.5, Op.64, E minor and Bruch Concerto No.1 for Violin and Orchestra, Op.26 G minor.

Michael Torke's Javelin, a musical interpretation of someone throwing a javelin, was performed at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

According to Marilyn Smith, marketing director for the Waco Symphony Orchestra, approximately 2,000 people will attend the concert.

Smith said that the symphony's season ticket holders help to keep the symphony running and its morale high, but Baylor students are also encouraged to attend.

'He's [Bell's] so young and students can relate to him well,' Smith said.

Student tickets, which are $10, will be available on concert day, in Waco Hall. For additional ticket information, call the Waco Symphony Office at 754-0851.

To learn more about Baylor School of Music concert dates and locations, call the Music Concert Line at 710-4200.