According to CNN.com, Joshua Bell has won the Avery Fisher Prize. The $75,000 is awarded at the whim of a committee when it feels an artist deserves it. Past winners include Yo-Yo Ma and Emmanuel Ax, I assume also in the prime of their career at the time of the award.
In the CNN article Joshua Bell says, “I’m a violinist, first and foremost, but I do believe the people who are the most immortal are the composers. The man on the street, he knows who Beethoven is, he knows who Mozart is. And I’d like to compose.” When talking with the Associated Press, he fantacizes about conducting.
He has won two Grammys.
All of this raises several questions:
1. When will large endowements stop awarding loads of money to firmly established, and presumably wealthy artists, in favor of supporting rising stars who work three jobs and have student loans to pay off. (Realizing that, yes, there are organizations that already go that)
2. After all the fame and fortune, why would a super-star violinist want to dive into an isolating career as a composer?
3. To my knowledge only two news outlets have offered this story: CNN and the Washington Post, via the AP. Isn’t that a little strange, that CNN would cover a Classical award?
I hope Joshua Bell turns the dollars around and funds the education and instrument of some needy student.