Violinist Joshua Bell Celebrates Legendary Life of Charles Hamlen at House Concert

Joshua Bell, one of classical music’s most celebrated violinists, honored the life of industry luminary and devoted philanthropist Charles Hamlen in a house concert on October 1, 2018. Hamlen, Bell’s first manager, was the founding director of Classical Action and passed away from leukemia in August 2018.

Set in a stunning TriBeCa loft, Classical Action supporters were treated to an intimate house concert with Bell, just months before he performs for more than 2,800 guests at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Joined by acclaimed pianist Sam Haywood, the duo opened the concert with Johannes Brahm’s Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100. Bell expressively and masterfully traveled through the three unique movements, ranging musically from gentle and emotional to lyrical and lively.

Keeping with the theme, Bell and Haywood then presented a piece by Clara Schumann, Brahm’s unrequited love. The stirring piece was deeply moving as Bell passionately transitioned between melancholy and upbeat joy.

To close out the evening, Bell performed Wieniawski’s vibrant Scherzo Tarantelle. Bell demonstrated his virtuoso status as he moved effortlessly through the technically difficult piece. His inimitable skill and tangible enthusiasm brought the sold-out audience to its feet.

Throughout the concert, Bell shared personal stories of Hamlen, including how they first met and started their working relationship together when Bell was just 15 years old. “When I first met him, I thought, ‘This is the nicest person I’ve ever met.'” he said. “He wasn’t in this for the money, he wanted to take my career slowly. He spoke with such wisdom. Going with Charlie as my manager was the best decision I made in my career.”

“I wish there were more people like Charlie in the world,” he said. “I’m just happy to be here, to be able to do this, to remember this man.”

The evening concluded with a rooftop champagne toast in Charlie’s honor, led by Tony Award winner and Classical Action supporter David Hyde Pierce.

Photos by Steve J. Sherman