Joshua Bell to perform at Spivey Hall

Concert Preview

Joshua Bell. 8:15 p.m. Feb. 23. $75. Spivey Hall, 2000 Clayton State Boulevard, Morrow. 678-466-4200,

Joshua Bell is one of a handful of artists in the classical music business who have achieved something resembling “rock star” status.

Bell, who’ll be performing a sold-out concert at Spivey Hall Feb. 23, has recorded more than 40 albums, toured for more than 25 years, and won awards of all sorts. He’s even figured in the Academy Awards, as his performance for “The Red Violin” was cited by composer John Corigliani as a major factor in the film’s best original score Oscar. (He also performed the music for a documentary, “Chasing Ice,” up for best original song at this year’s ceremony.)

Bell’s performance at Spivey, an intimate concert hall on the Clayton State University campus, will be his fifth recital there. Spivey has become the go-to place in the Atlanta area for classical musicians, partly because of a generous endowment left by Emile and Walter Spivey to subsidize concerts. (Much of the cost of building the hall, which opened in 1991, was also paid for by this remarkable couple, neither of whom lived to see it completed.) Another reason is because of the hall’s fabled sound quality, a rare asset in the acoustics-challenged metro area.

Spivey has been led from the start by visionary administrators, including the current general director, Sam Dixon, who has been at Spivey in some capacity since 2004 and who seems to be best friends with everyone in the classical music world. These connections have paid off.

Asked to name four or five audience favorites among the artists who’ve appeared at Spivey since his arrival, Dixon described the task as a “Sophie’s Choice,” because there have been so many top acts. With prodding, he suggested the Tackacs String Quartet, which had a residency at Spivey for several years; singers’ ensembles Chanticleer and the King’s Singers; pianists Murray Perahia, Richard Goode and Krystian Zimerman; mezzo-sopranos Joyce DiDonato and Susan Graham; and guitarist John Williams.

Then he added several dozen more performers and ensembles for good measure. Simply stated, there is no venue in the area with so much top talent passing through other than Atlanta’s Symphony Hall, with its vastly larger budget.

Unlike Las Vegas, what happens at Spivey rarely stays at Spivey. A large number of the concerts are recorded by WABE, and selections from those recordings are featured regularly on American Public Media’s “Performance Today.”

Bell will perform together with Sam Haywood, a highly regarded pianist and frequent collaborator. The varied program features Schubert, Richard Strauss and Prokofiev, along with works to be announced from the stage. While Bell is one of the most versatile violinists, Strauss and Prokofiev are among the big late Romantic pieces “he does better than anyone in the world,” Dixon said.

Other artists coming up at Spivey include two young guitarists, Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli, March 3; the fabled Jupiter String Quartet March 7 and 9; pianist Jeremy Denk March 16; the Atlanta Chamber Players March 17; and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard March 23. Chanticleer returns April 20 and pianist Richard Goode will be back April 28.