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Joshua Bell, Violin
Jeremy Denk, Piano

The Annual Isaac Stern Memorial Concert
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Joshua Bell by Shervin Lainez, Jeremy Denk by Michael Wilson
Joshua Bell is “fundamentally incapable of making an unpleasant sound,” wrote The New York Times. The violinist’s silken tone has been called “a thing of beauty” (Boston Herald), but he is a player who also has remarkable rhythmic acuity and unsurpassed refinement. Jeremy Denk, “a pianist you want to hear, no matter what he performs” (The New York Times) joins Bell for an unforgettable evening of music.


Joshua Bell, Violin
Jeremy Denk, Piano


MOZART Violin Sonata in B-flat Major, K. 454

R. STRAUSS Violin Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 18

JANÁČEK Violin Sonata

SCHUBERT Fantasy in C Major, D. 934


C. SCHUMANN Romance in D-flat Major, Op. 22, No. 1

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

At a Glance

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART  Violin Sonata in B-flat Major, K. 454

Written for Italian virtuoso Regina Strinasacchi, this high-spirited work is concerto-like in the technical demands it makes of the violinist. Unlike Mozart’s earlier violin sonatas that shone the spotlight on the keyboard, K. 454 presents the two players as equal partners. According to legend, the composer performed his part from memory at the premiere.


RICHARD STRAUSS  Violin Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 18

Written in 1887 when Strauss was just 23 years old, the Sonata in E-flat Major contains the seeds of the musical genius that would shortly bear fruit in his pathbreaking symphonic tone poems and operas. Op. 18 was his last piece of abstract chamber music; virtually all of his later instrumental works would be inspired by literary or philosophical programs.


LEOŠ JANÁČEK  Sonata for Violin and Piano

A restless, searching spirit suffuses this powerful work, which was started before and completed after World War I. In it, we hear the profound transformation that Janáček’s musical language underwent during this period; the resulting sound world anticipates his opera The Cunning Little Vixen.


FRANZ SCHUBERT  Fantasy in C Major, D. 934

Schubert’s richly melodious Fantasy is recognized as a masterpiece today, but it received mixed reviews at its premiere in 1828. One newspaper tartly observed that the lengthy piece “occupied rather too much of the time a Viennese is prepared to devote to pleasures of the mind.”


Joshua Bell, Violin

With a career that spans more than 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and conductor, Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. An exclusive ...

With a career that spans more than 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and conductor, Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. An exclusive Sony Classical artist, he has recorded more than 40 albums, garnering Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone, and ECHO Klassik awards. He is also recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize. Named music director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in 2011, he is the only person to hold the post since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958.

In 2018, Mr. Bell tours with the Academy to the US, UK, Germany, and Asia; and, with pianist Sam Haywood, performs 10 recitals in Europe and the US. Further season highlights include dates with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and an all-Beethoven play-direct program with the Orchestre National de Lyon.

Recently, Sony Classical released Joshua Bell: The Classical Collection, a 14-CD set of albums of classical repertoire that displays Mr. Bell’s unique breadth, versatility, and breathtaking virtuosity. Slated for May 19, 2018, is his recording, with the Academy, of Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy and Violin Concerto No. 1.

Mr. Bell recently engaged in two technology projects: With Embertone—the leading virtual-instrument sampling company—the Joshua Bell Virtual Violin was created for producers, artists, engineers, and composers. He also teamed up with Sony for the Joshua Bell VR Experience, which features him performing Brahms’s Hungarian Dance No. 1 in 360-degree virtual reality. This experience is available for free download on Sony PlayStation VR.

Convinced of the value of music as a diplomatic and educational tool, Mr. Bell participated in President Barack Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ first cultural mission to Cuba. He is also involved in Turnaround Arts—administered by the Kennedy Center—which provides arts education to low-performing elementary and middle schools. Mr. Bell has devoted himself to several charitable causes, most notably Education Through Music, which puts instruments in the hands of thousands of children in America’s inner cities.

Mr. Bell performs on the 1713 Gibson ex-Huberman Stradivarius violin.

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Jeremy Denk, Piano

Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists. Winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the Avery Fisher Prize, he was recently elected to the American Academy of  ...

Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists. Winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the Avery Fisher Prize, he was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Mr. Denk regularly appears at Carnegie Hall and has recently performed with The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Los Angeles Philharmonic, and toured with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Last season, he undertook a recital tour of the UK, including returns to Wigmore Hall and the BBC Proms.

This season, Mr. Denk returns to the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas, and Carnegie Hall with Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Returning in subscription to the Seattle Symphony, Mr. Denk embarks on a tour performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor.” He continues as artistic partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in multiple performances, and presents a new piano concerto written for him by Hannah Lash. He appears in recital throughout the US, with performances in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Abroad, Mr. Denk performs as artist-in-residence at the Barbican Centre’s Milton Court Concert Hall, and returns to play-direct the Britten Sinfonia in London and on tour in the UK. In Asia, he makes recital debuts in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Seoul. Future projects include a reunion with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and a US tour with longtime musical partners Joshua Bell and Steven Isserlis.

Mr. Denk is known for his original and insightful writing on music. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the New Republic, The Guardian, and on the front page of The New York Times Book Review. He is composer of an opera presented by Carnegie Hall and is working on a book to be published by Random House. Mr. Denk’s debut recording with Nonesuch Records paired Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 32, Op. 111, with Ligeti’s Etudes; his interpretation of the sonata was selected by BBC Radio 3’s Building a Library as the best available version recorded on modern piano. His latest recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations reached number one on the Billboard classical charts.

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