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May 11, 2013

Joshua Bell's EDC (Hint: it's a bit different from yours)


Christina Binkley's May 2 Wall Street Journal story revealed that world-class violinists travel differently than you and me; the specifics I found quite interesting.

Perhaps you will too.

Details below.


What's in Joshua Bell's Bag?

Bags and cases are for sundries and valuables alike. In his, Joshua Bell carries nail clippers, gum and his 300-year-old Stradivarius.

"It is the one bag that's with me all the time," says the virtuoso violinist. "So it's become a little like my locker in high school. My assistant regularly goes into it and finds candy bars."

Mr. Bell, 45, [below, in his New York City apartment with his violin and bag]


says he had his violin case custom-made with canvas outer zipped pockets that he uses as a "purse section" for personal items. The case [top and above] was made by Dimitri Musafia, whose company has made violin and viola cases for concert artists for 30 years in Cremona, Italy, the same town where Antonio Stradivari worked. In addition to compartments for resin, spare strings and a chin-rest tightening tool, Musafia cases include an inner suspension system to protect the violin and a hygrometer to measure humidity.

Mr. Bell says he had one of the custom-made pockets specially sized. "I told them it was for music, but it was for my iPad," he says. He also carries a Samsung Galaxy Note phone and two pairs of Bowers & Wilkins ear buds. (He often loses them).

These gadgets sit outside the hard case for his violin (famous, in part, for being stolen [twice!] from Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman), for which Mr. Bell paid nearly $4 million in 2001. There are also spaces for four bows — three from his collection and an empty slot in case he comes across one he wants to try.

One large outer pocket holds items for after-concert forays to greet fans. There is a T-shirt to change into, Bulgari Man cologne and chewing gum. Bell, who says he enjoys greeting people, sometimes shakes hands with as many as 400 at an event, so he also keeps Purell hand sanitizer in his bag.

If Mr. Bell were to design his next bag, he says, it would have a built-in metronome, a detachable laptop compartment and improved pockets to keep his personal items from "jingling around."


Below, some of Bell's bag's contents.


May 11, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink


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