Stories » Joshua Bell leads ASMF in superb Costs Mesa concert / Los Angeles Times review

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Joshua Bell leads ASMF in superb Costs Mesa concert / Los Angeles Times review

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You know it promises to be an interesting evening when center stage has no podium, no baton, no sheet music. In the case of Monday's Philharmonic Society of Orange County concert in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, the coveted spot - often graced by the world's great conductors - oftentimes had no one. That's because the evening's performing ensemble in the Costa Mesa venue - Academy of St. Martin in the Fields - has no conductor. Rather, the acclaimed London-based chamber orchestra is headed by American violin virtuoso Joshua Bell, who pulls double duty by leading the group and performing in pieces himself. On Monday, the result was a refreshing mix of a well-honed classic - Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major - and some lesser-played works by the masters, Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 1.

Instantly, we knew that we were in for a fine night of music, as the woodwinds in particular demonstrated their world-class skills with a playful virtuosity. Indeed, the orchestra kept it remarkably light throughout all the pieces - clean, crisp, little edge to speak of.

READ THE FULL Los Angeles Times REVIEW