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Joshua Bell plays Arizona's Mesa Arts Center / AZCentral Q&A

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He has been called "the poet of the violin," but when he's not playing his 300-year-old Stradivarius, Joshua Bell is very much the normal guy. A Midwesterner born in Indiana, he plays tennis and golf, and he's a huge football fan. So, can he explain that last play call in the Super Bowl?

"Let's put it this way: It cost me a lot of money," Bell says. "I'm still scratching my head over it. It was a great game, but I still don't understand why they didn't run the ball. But, you know, hindsight. If he had caught it, we would have all thought they were geniuses."

Bell came to fame playing the solos for the movie soundtrack "The Red Violin" in 1998 and has been a classical superstar ever since. He has recorded three dozen CDs and soundtracks, and in 2011 he was tapped as artistic director of the Academy of St Martins in the Fields, the acclaimed London chamber ensemble.

On Wednesday, Feb. 25, Bell will launch his latest tour with English pianist Sam Haywood at the Mesa Arts Center. They will play sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms and Grieg and Bartók's Rhapsody No. 1 for Violin and Piano, as well as a few "bonbons" the Bell reserves for encores. He checked in with The Republic by cellphone en route to the airport for a trip to Italy.