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Denk, Bell, Isserlis make beautiful music together at UCSBArts&Lectures / Santa Barbara Independent

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Pianist Jeremy Denk and violinist Joshua Bell, both American with lofty international cred, are hardly strangers to Santa Barbara stages. Denk has played here many times, was an acclaimed director of the Ojai Music Festival in 2014, and has since joined the Music Academy of the West faculty, making him a star summering in our midst. Bell has been an annual visitor for years now, in various incarnations. But they are different animals: Denk embraces contemporary music and ideas; Bell tends to eschew such things and can seem like a buttoned-down conservative (despite his squirrely, swaying stage manner). But there they were, odd bedfellows joined by master British cellist Steven Isserlis, in concert at The Granada Theatre last week, hosted by UCSB Arts and Lectures. They made some beautiful music together on a program that was at least half-inspiring.

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