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Joshua Bell on what it's like to play and conduct at the same time / WETA

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Interview with WETA's John Banther

Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell debuts his newest Sony Classical release featuring the first violin concerto by Max Bruch, and his Scottish Fantasy. The Scottish Fantasy is paired with a new recording of the Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, which he first recorded over thirty years ago with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Sir Neville Marriner. Now, as Music Director of the Academy, Bell both performs and directs the orchestra, and offers a fresh take on the Bruch Concerto in addition to a thrilling performance of the Scottish Fantasy. Bell's affection for the Fantasy runs deep, with good reason: "My father's family were from Scotland, and I grew up hearing stories about how my great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather fought in the Black Watch in Scotland.  My dad was proud of his Scottish heritage, and this connection makes the melodies in Bruch's Scottish Fantasy even more meaningful to me." The Fantasy bristles with the snap and lilt of Scottish folk songs, and Bell goes on to say, "It is one of the most beautiful and touching pieces I know, and so brilliantly orchestrated. It is a unique ‘concerto,' not following the traditional three-movement form. Each of its four movements tells a story."

As mentioned, Bell doesn't just play the violin, he conducts the orchestra too! Find out what it's like to do both at the same time, the recording process, and what makes this recording different.     LISTEN TO WETA: Wash DC