Malibu Seen: Bell’s Seventh Heaven

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Classical fans are lining up for Joshua Bell’s upcoming summer performance at the Hollywood Bowl.

Malibu music lovers have been flocking to the historic Hollywood Bowl to celebrate everything from exotic rhythm beats to smooth hits with Smokey Robinson, and a whole lot of fireworks in between. You can’t say there isn’t variety.

When the season began, my husband and I were off to a spectacular opening night performance by legendary rock band Journey. It was an outstanding evening, with the group cranking out hits like “Lights” and the ever-popular “Don’t Stop Believin’,” accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, affectionately known as YOLA.

The opening night fireworks may have faded, but there is more to come, and classical fans are in for a treat.

Malibu music devotees like Ginny Mancini always try to make a trip to the Bowl part of their annual festivities, and so do we.

On the drive to opening night, my husband and I were tuned into a classical radio station playing Beethoven’s dramatic “Symphony No. 7” — a work which showcases the full orchestra in all its glory. We wondered what a treat it would be to hear “No. 7” performed live, and later discovered that it was not only on this year’s summer program, but on Tuesday, Aug. 11, it will feature acclaimed soloist Joshua Bell who will also conduct. Add the Los Angeles Philharmonic and you’ve got yourself a classical gas. Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides” overture and the Bruch “Violin Concerto No. 1” kick off the evening under the stars. Watching Bell work his magic should be a sight and sound to behold.

The Grammy Award-winning and Bowl Hall of Fame violinist also has the distinction of being the music director of the acclaimed “St Martin-in-the-Fields.” His interest in music dates to his preschool days in Indiana. His parents got him his first violin at the age of four, and he was off. A few inches taller, he made his debut at Carnegie Hall. Not bad for a lad of 17. These days, he’s traded that first violin for a pricy, multi-million dollar Stradivarius and tours the world over.

But of all the global venues he’s played, the Bowl has a special place in his heart. Bell tells Malibu Seen, “The first time I played the Bowl was 25 years ago. I always look forward to it because it’s such a special place.” The music program he will be presenting will also be a favorite. As Bell explains, “It’s a fun concert for me. Even for people who are leery of classical music, this is a great introduction for them.” 

Even though summer is in full swing, there’s plenty of time to squeeze in a few more fun-filled musical activities.

This year’s Bowl calendar features big name superstars like crooner Harry Connick, Jr., Mozart with Gustavo “The Dude” Dudamel and the philharmonic, as well as a “Weekend Spectacular” with pop songbird Sheryl Crow.

The season winds down with a family affair. On Aug. 15, you laugh out loud with a presentation of “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony.” But “that’s not all folks:” there’s Reggae Night with Ziggy Marley on Aug. 16, an electrifying performance with the dynamic duo Heart on Aug. 21, the mellow sounds of Dave Koz on Aug. 22, a weekend with Diana Krall on Aug 28. and 29, and more.

Put it all together and you’ll have a musical summer made in the shade!