"If there's one composer — which, thank god I don't have to choose one — that is most impactful and meaningful to me, it would have to be Beethoven."
That's super-star violinist Joshua Bell. It's a good thing he loves Beethoven, because he plays Beethoven at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival in Winona. He calls the pieces by Beethoven "the most exciting things that have ever been created by a human being."
"I've been directing and conducting now the symphonies with my orchestra, the Academy of St. Martins in the Fields, and now I've made my way through the first eight of the nine symphonies," he says. "So I've been really immersed in Beethoven's music and his chamber music. It's wonderful that this festival focuses on Beethoven."
The Beethoven Festival has become a regular stop in Bell's globetrotting life. His recitals sell out quickly, and he always delivers.
At the 2017 festival, Bell along with pianist Sam Haywood starred in a concert of elegance, virtuosity and heart-on-the-sleeve playing when he performed a sonata by Brahms and a sweet, early Beethoven sonata, the same piece Bell launched his career with at the tender age of 11. Hear his performance by clicking the player above.
This year's Minnesota Beethoven Festival starts July 2 with another favorite, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Canadian pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin returns on July 10 and another superstar violinist, Sara Chang, makes her festival debut on July 8. The Takacs Quartet, So Percussion and the Minnesota Orchestra are all on deck for this event. Alison Young will be broadcasting live with a concert by Minneapolis native — and Van Cliburn silver medalist — Kenny Broberg on July 17.
Find out more and get tickets to the festival here.