Joshua Bell was born in Bloomington, Indiana. Bell's mother is Jewish and his grandfather was a native Israeli.
Bell was handed his first violin at the age of four and it was soon clear that he was a musical prodigy. As a young boy, Bell studied first under Mimi Zweig, and then under the world-famous violinist, Josef Gingold. He gave his first public performance when he was only seven years old.
At the age of fourteen, Bell appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. He studied the violin at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In 1989, Bell received an Artist Diploma in Violin Performance from Indiana University.Joshua Bell made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1985 with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. He has since performed with almost all of the world's major orchestras and conductors. Bell was awarded an Grammy in 1993. He performed the solo part on John Corigliano's Oscar-winning soundtrack for the film The Red Violin and was also featured in Ladies in Lavender. Bell also made an appearance in the movie Music of the Heart, a story about the power of music, with other notable violinists.
Bell was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in 2007 at Lincoln Center in New York City. In May, 2007, Bell took a position as Senior Lecturer at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music.
In 2008, Bell received an Academy of Acheivement Award for his outstanding work in the arts.
Bell has recorded over thirty CDs and has appeared frequently on The Tonight Show and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.