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After 20 years, heartthrob violinist Joshua Bell still thrills

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True confession: I have a bit of a crush on Joshua Bell.

I suspect I am not alone in this. In the sometimes buttoned-up world of classical music, such frivolous statements are rare. But this guy is the whole package: boyish good looks, a frighteningly sweet disposition ... and, man oh man, this guy can play.

I first heard him play when I was a teenager (as he was when he skyrocketed to fame). An earnest, skinny alterna-chick who wrote a lot of tortured poetry and also played the viola, I was not exactly the type of person to get all weak in the knees over a famous person. Rock-star adulation was simply not in my playbook. But with Joshua Bell, it was and is different.

He's won, like, every award. His performances are captivating. In interviews, he's witty and down-to-earth. In the relatively modest classical market, his recordings routinely sell in popular-music-type numbers. He even had a music video on VH1. He's featured in films like The Red Violin.

Some of you may have seen him in his last performance in Colorado Springs 20 years ago, when he was 16. Now in his thirties, he's one of the most in-demand artists currently touring, and he continues to dazzle.

Philharmonic executive director Susan Greene has been trying to book Bell for the last three years. "I had to let his manager know years ago that we wanted to book him," she explains. "If you don't get on the list, you're out of luck."

Bell will play a Brahms violin sonata with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic for one night only. It'll be one night that I'll feel like one very lucky girl. Thank you, Philharmonic. Sigh ...


capsule

Bell and Brahms: Joshua Bell performs with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic

Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.

Monday, Oct. 9, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $35-$75; call 520-SHOW (7469) or visit pikespeakcenter.com.

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