Just a Minute With: Joshua Bell, violinist and Vegas fan

Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:10am EDT
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By James B. Kelleher

CHICAGO (Reuters Life!) - When violinist Joshua Bell performed a series of recent concerts here, he left his 1713 Stradivarius at home and played on a borrowed 1741 Guarneri del Gesu whose owner is trying to sell it.

The asking price is $18 million.

During an interview the 41-year-old native of Bloomington, Indiana knocked the instrument over with his foot. But his performance the next night, when he played selections from Bruch and Saint-Saens, showed the fiddle was just fine.

Bell spoke to Reuters about his new album, "At Home with Friends," which includes duets with Chris Botti, Sting and Kristen Chenowith among others, music and American football, which he loves.

Q: In the song "This Old Guitar," Neil Young imagines his instrument silently waiting for him when he's away. Do you imagine your violin pining for you while you're gone?

A: "It's possible. There is a sense sometimes when I play on another instrument that when I go back to mine it behaves particularly well -- it shows me what I was missing. The connection is very much like a marriage. You have your good days and your bad days. Days when you want to get rid of it and days when you fall in love again."

Q: What music are you listening to?

A: "A lot of my friends who are not musicians have their iPods in their ears all the time. I can't listen to music like that. It's distracting. If it's good, I find myself paying attention to it. If it's bad, it just drives me up the wall."   Continued...