Channeling Cuba

Joshua Bell and Carlos Varela perform. (Photo: Courtesy PBS)

Joshua Bell and Carlos Varela perform. (Photo: Courtesy PBS)

Violinist Joshua Bell performs with the Chamber Orchestra of Havana for the PBS Live at Lincoln Center production “Joshua Bell’s Seasons of Cuba.” The show premieres  Dec. 16 as part of the PBS Fall Arts Festival.

Bell, arguably the finest American violinist of our day, leads a pack that includes such Cuban talent as singer-songwriter Carlos Varela (the “poet of Havana”), composer Aldo López-Gavilán, soprano Larisa-Martínez and South African pop artist Dave Matthews.

In April, Bell traveled to Cuba as a cultural ambassador at the behest of President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. While there, he was so taken by the chamber orchestra, and conductor Daiana Garcia, that he requested permission to have them join him for a performance at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall, marking the Havana orchestra’s U.S. debut, The result is the Friday, 9 p.m. show, which will include excerpts from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” Astor Piazzolla’s “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires,” and what is by all accounts a rousing rendition of  “Guantanamera.”

Bell’s career spans more than 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and conductor. He is an exclusive Sony Classical artist, and has recorded more than 40 CDs garnering Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards.

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