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Musical Kids Ring Joshua's Bell

Although he's younger than most of his colleagues, Grammy-winning violinist Joshua Bell has performed with some of the world's leading symphony orchestras and, today, he is known throughout the world for his violin concertos.

Bell, 30, first started playing the violin when he was four years old. But his real success came during his early teens.

Now he gives more than 200 concerts a year. And, when he's not on an international tour, he likes to offer young musicians encouragement by dropping in on local schools. Most recently, he was at New York City's Third Street Music School, where he met with students ages 6 to 16.

"I like meeting kids, kids that are interested in music," says Bell. "It's always fun for me to hear their questions."

A sample: "Do you ever have to run from the press?"

Bell's reply: "I'm not exactly a rock star!"

The highlight of the afternoon came when Bell and the children got together for a couple of performances, including a rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Bell was a serious violinist by the time he turned 12, which is when renowned violinist Josef Gingold became his teacher.

Joshua Bell (CBS)
"I remember being very young and meeting musicians, kind of the way [the schoolchildren] are meeting me," says Bell. "And that kind of close contact with people that are performing had a big impact on me as a kid."

Bell launched his international concert career at the age of 14 with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

In his spare time, Bell, who makes his home in New York City, enjoys basketball, tennis, baseball, golf, chess, and computers. When he's working, he plays an Antonio Stradivari violin dated 1732, known as the "Tom Taylor."

His extensive recorded repertoire includes the Mendelssohn, Bruch, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Schumann concertos, as well as music by John Williams and Wynton Marsalis.

With Williams, Bell has recorded the music of George Gershwin for his latest release, Gershwin Fantasy.

The violinist also served as artistic adviser, body double, and the performing artist responsible for all onscreen violin sound for the movie The Red Violin, which traces the fictional history of a rare violin through three centuries. The film, which has not yet been released, stars Samuel L. Jackson, Greta Scacchi, and Monique Mercure and was directed by Francois Girard.

Bell also has the distinction of being one of the first classical musicians to be the focus of a music video, which has ben broadcast on the VH1, Arts & Entertainment, and Bravo cable television networks.

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