I’ve played in the Utah Symphony as Joshua performed. I’ve listened to him perform Mozart for Gingold’s Birthday Concert in Indiana when Joshua was only 14 years old. Most recently, I’ve sat on the third row of Abravanel Hall and listened to Joshua perform Tchaikovsky from the audience’s perspective. I’ve discussed his Tchaikovsky fingerings with him, something he was happy to do!
While sitting in the Artist’s Lounge backstage on the day of the Tchaikovsky concert, Josh entered the room as unassuming as a shy college student. Nothing of the diva entrances I had experienced from performers in the past, Josh came wearing his jeans and a baggy jacket, gorgeous $4 million Stradivarius casually slung over his left shoulder. No one really noticed that he had arrived for the rehearsal. Why would they?
There is something of this in his playing.
Although he is very famous and spot on accurate and at times extremely powerful, there is a sensitive and tentative quality to his performances which lends a very humane element to his music. He doesn’t command your attention while playing, his sound simply invokes it. His tone is clear and beautiful, yet subtle and inviting at the same time. You will hear nothing of this from more imposing performers such as Anna Sophie Mutter and Kyung wha Chung ; fine performers to be sure! To me, however, they don’t generate the same kind of warmth and compassion in their sound. Although he never really does make a mistake, as Joshua plays, I am acutely aware of the fact that it could possibly happen. He is bravely walking the tightrope stretched tautly between his phenomenal technical experience and his mysterious future and as yet uncharted abilities.
Joshua is a remarkable violinist and person. I hope he will continue to grow and perform for many years to come, as it looks like his plans include:
DPS: When you record Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto this year, will you write the cadenzas?
JB: I haven’t dared yet. That’s for the next recording of that concerto — in 2027!