Academy of St Martin in the Fields with Joshua Bell
Sunday Classics at the Usher Hall
19 January 2020, 3.00pm

World-renowned violinist plays Bach and Piazzolla at iconic Edinburgh venue

Passion, precision, spellbinding virtuosity: international violin soloist Joshua Bell is quite simply one of the world’s most accomplished, revered musicians.

And with his warm rapport with the players of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields – where he’s been Music Director since 2011 – he brings a bounding vitality to their well-established polish and finesse. Together, Bell and the Academy musicians shine a fresh new light on all they perform.

Firmly establishing themselves as favourites amongst Edinburgh audiences following their Usher Hall concerts in 2016 and 2018, orchestra and director return with what promises to be a thrilling concert of bracing vigour and sultry sensuality. Bell is soloist in Bach’s deeply lyrical A minor Violin Concerto, one of a pair of solo concertos the composer wrote for the instrument. It’s more sombre and statelier than its counterpart in E Major and has remained the public’s favourite in the nearly 300 years since its composition. Bell also directs the chugging jollity of the much-loved Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. Most likely written while Bach was in Weimar, it takes influence from the Italian Concerto style which the composer had a particular penchant for at the time of writing.

Completing the programme are the intense emotions of Schubert’s turbulent Death and the Maiden Quartet, reimagined for the richness of a string orchestra by Gustav Mahler, and Argentinian tango master Astor Piazzolla’s answer to Vivaldi in his own jazzy Four Seasons. While not originally conceived as a suite, with the Summer movement written to accompany the play Melenita de Oro by Alberto Rodríguez Muñoz, they have since become an audience favourite famed for their smoky, sensual soundscapes set in the heart of Buenos Aires.

Join us in the Usher Hall for a concert to brighten up the short and chilly January days! It’s an ideal winter afternoon out for all the family, with under 16s free with any paying adult and students only £10.


Running order

Door time: 2:00pm

Director:   Joshua Bell

Soloist:  Joshua Bell (violin)

Orchestra: Academy of St Martin in the Fields


Bach – Violin Concerto in A minor BWV 1041

Schubert – String Quartet in D minor D.810 ‘Death and the Maiden’ arr. G Mahler for string orchestra

Bach – Brandenburg no.3

Piazzolla – Four Seasons for Buenos Aires

Estimated end time 5pm