Joshua Bell and Alessio Bax perform classical music at the Vilar Performing Arts Center | VailDaily.com

Joshua Bell and Alessio Bax are playing a diverse program of classical music at the Vilar Performing Arts Center

Joshua Bell (pictured here) and Alessio Bax met 12 years ago at a classical music festival in Switzerland and have been collaborating since.
David Bazemore | Special to the Daily

Joshua Bell and Alessio Bax will perform a program of classical favorites at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Jan. 29. Bell, a violinist, and Bax, a pianist will play Schubert (Rondo Brillante in B minor, D. 895); Franck (Sonata in A Major for Violin and Piano); Bach (Violin Sonata No. 4 in C minor BMV 1017; and Bloch (Baal Shem).

Bell and Bax have both established themselves in their respective fields over the past several decades, but the two have been collaborating for quite some time. They met in 2006 at the Verbier Music Festival in Switzerland. Aside from their passion for playing music together, they’re both gourmands and foodies and enjoy traveling together.

“I really enjoy playing with Alessio,” Bell said in a press conference call with members of the media. “He’s a very thoughtful, a very honest musician. I never feel like anything he does is somehow pretentious or anything other than honest music making, which I love.”

When the two get together to create a program, they discuss which pieces they’d like to do and craft a “tasting menu” of sorts combining different genres and eras of classical music into one concert. Per the Vail program: Bach’s music was most popular in Baroque-era Europe in the early 18th century; Schubert was popular in the Early Romantic era in the early 19th century; Franck was popular in the mid-19th century and Bloch’s influence stretches into the 20th century.

“For me as an audience member, I enjoy going to concerts where I get to hear different styles. As a performer, it’s fun to move from one to another. In this case, there are some connections – Bach and Franck both being organists,” he said.

Schubert is one of Bell’s favorite composers, and he feels very connected to Bloch, a Jewish Swiss composer whose music captures many cultural and religious themes, through his own heritage.

“Schubert was so amazing at taking you into a world so quickly,” he said. “And Bloch, his music is incredibly emotional and beautiful. My mother’s side of the family were Russian Jewish immigrants, so I feel very connected to the music of Bloch. It’s kind of in my blood a little bit.”

The pair also considers crafting a program that general audiences will connect with. They like to include some “greatest hits”-type pieces so audiences will recognize what they’re hearing, but also balance it with material that they maybe haven’t heard before.

“When I hear people clap between movements, that tells me that there are people who maybe aren’t classical music goers, and that actually makes me really happy,” he said.

The show starts at 7 p.m.; tickets are $98 for adults, $20 for students and the Pay Your Age program for guests aged 18-30 is available. To purchase and view additional information, visit vilarpac.org or call 970-845-8497.