Bell...got his first music lessons when he was a 4-year-old in Bloomington, Ind. His parents, both psychologists,
decided formal training might be a good idea after they saw that their
son had strung rubber bands across his dresser drawers and was
replicating classical tunes by ear, moving drawers in and out to vary
-Pearls Before Breakfast
Bell played Ravel's Tzigane, a perfect piece to display his virtuosity... it is available on You Tube here. If you watch you can see how he puts his whole body into playing. I swear, you can even see his ears twitch.
Bell and Meyer also paired to perform Concerto for Viiolin and Double Bass, a relatively new piece that debuted in Boston 2012. The two have known each other since Bell was 12, and Meyer composed it with the two of them in mind.
There was a post-concert chat with Oundjian, Bell and Meyer.
Bell talked about the history of his 1713 Strad, which was brazenly stolen from the virtuoso Huberman when he left it backstage at Carnegie Hall in 1936. It resurfaced 50 years later, perfectly intact, after the thief confessed on his deathbed. His motive wasn't financial gain, but to enjoy possessing and playing his stolen pleasure.
Bell was also asked about the time he took part in a musical experiment that had him busking for free in a Washington subway. Many in the audience had heard the anecdote and some were wondering if it were an urban legend. True story. The journalist published his article, Pearls Before Breakfast, in the Washington Post, and described how almost no one stopped to hear this world class musician play. His total take was about $40.
I like to think I would've stopped, but more likely the odds are 50/50. After reading the article, though, I think the odds will increase I will pay more attention to buskers. It seems art sometimes needs a captive audience:
Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn't you? What's the moral mathematics of the moment? ....If we can't take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen
to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music ever
written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf
and blind to something like that -- then what else are we missing?
- Pearls Before Breakfast