And it's a major success. In one of its debut performances by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Music Director Robert Spano is clearly elated with the result as the audience roars its approval in multiple standing ovations. During the thunderous reception, Bell keeps patting Spano on the back, a star making sure that orchestra and conductor share the glory with him.

In quieter moments, Bell is listening for the next music in his career. "Right now, I can see two years ahead," he says. "I can see two years because that's how far performance dates are being booked. But I don't know where all this might lead. I could turn to conducting. I've thought of that a lot. Sometimes now, I lead from the violin. I have a small role with the St. Paul [Minnesota] Chamber Orchestra and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields" in London. "I could also see myself teaching some day when I get older. And composing."

Bell has already written several cadenzas for his own perform­ance. "Composition is probably the most creative thing I've done. So I've thought about writing some things for the violin.

"But I've also thought about doing pop songs." He breaks into a sheepish grin and then an outright laugh.

Bell is toying here with what some classicists would consider heresy. As he talks his way on into it, you get the idea he rather likes that aspect of it. Having proved himself a world-class concert artist, "I keep thinking that I could write pop music and make a ton of money. It doesn't seem that difficult, and I see people doing it. You know, I just did a track on Josh Groban's CD."