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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

Joshua Bell Conducts Beethoven, And Teams With...Scarlett Johansson!

Violinist busy with recordings and nominations

The latest from Joshua Bell isn't a violin album, although he does play. It features his "new band," the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, of which Bell is the Music Director; only the second one in the group's 54 year history. The new Sony Classical release features Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphonies No. 4 and No. 7.

"Four and Seven are often paired together," said Bell. "The reason why I did it is because we had done them a lot over the last eight or so years. The Fourth and Seventh just kept popping up more than any others and I really felt most comfortable with these two pieces. So when you record you want to feel like you reached a place that feels very stable."

Bell typically leads from the concertmaster position, conducting with his bow, eyes and facial expressions.

"He wanted to make it a duet with violin, and he said, 'Do you want to play it with Scarlett Johansson?' and I said, 'Sure, Scarlett Johansson, of course! Great actress.'  I didn't know she was a great singer, though he played me her voice and I thought, 'Wow!' she really has a unique quality to her voice." - Bell on playing the Oscar nominated song "Before My Time" by J. Ralph.

The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields tours next month in the US and throughout Europe in April. Bell has a busy schedule as a solo violinist and recording schedule. One such project, a song for a documentary "Chasing Ice" is nominated for an Oscar. Singing on "Before My Time" is actress Scarlett Johansson.

http://youtu.be/qB4UEQzUmWc

Learn more about the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields at: www.asmf.org