Bela Fleck with Brooklyn Rider
ABOUT BELA FLECK: Just in case you aren't familiar with Béla Fleck, there are some who say he's the world’s premier banjo player. Others claim that Béla has virtually reinvented the image and the sound of the banjo through a remarkable performing and recording career that has taken him all over the musical map and on a range of solo projects and collaborations. If you are familiar with Béla, you know that he just loves to play the banjo, and put it into unique settings.
The 15-time Grammy Award winner has been nominated in more categories than any other artist in Grammy history, and remains a powerfully creative force globally in bluegrass, jazz, classical pop, rock and world beat. Most recently, Béla and Abigail Washburn took home the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album. In 2009, Béla produced the award-winning documentary and recordings, Throw Down Your Heart, where he journeyed across Africa to research the origins of the banjo. In 2011, Fleck premiered The Impostor with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, an unprecedented banjo concerto, followed by the companion documentary, How to Write a Banjo Concerto. In 2016, Béla unveiled his second concerto Juno with the Canton Symphony Orchestra.
Any world-class musician born with the names Béla (for Bartok), Anton (for Dvorak) and Leos (for Janacek) would seem destined to play classical music. Fleck made the classical connection with Perpetual Motion, his critically acclaimed 2001 Sony Classical recording that went on to win a pair of Grammys, including Best Classical Crossover Album, in the 44th annual Grammy Awards. Collaborating with Fleck on Perpetual Motion was his long time friend and colleague Edgar Meyer, a bassist whose virtuosity defies labels and also an acclaimed composer. Béla and Edgar co-wrote and performed a double concerto for banjo, bass and the Nashville Symphony, which debuted in November 2003. They also co-wrote a triple concerto for banjo, bass and tabla, with world renown tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain entitled The Melody of Rhythm.
These days, Fleck bounces between various intriguing touring situations: he performs his concerto worldwide with symphonies, collaborates in a duo with Chick Corea, and in a trio with Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer. He performs in concert with the Brooklyn Rider string quartet, in banjo duet with Abigail Washburn, banjo and mandolin duet with Chris Thile, and back to bluegrass with his old friends Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton and others. He collaborates with African artists such as Oumou Sangare and Toumani Diabate, in a jazz setting with The Marcus Roberts Trio, and - with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, who continue to perform together 25 years after the band’s inception.
ABOUT BROOKLYN RIDER: Johnny Gandelsman, violin / Colin Jacobsen, violin / Nicholas Cords, viola / Michael Nicolas, cello
Hailed as “the future of chamber music” (Strings), Brooklyn Rider offers eclectic repertoire in gripping performances that continue to attract legions of fans and draw rave reviews from classical, world, and rock critics alike.
Last season, the group celebrated its tenth anniversary with the groundbreaking multi-disciplinary project Brooklyn Rider Almanac, for which it recorded and toured 15 commissioned works, each inspired by a different artistic muse. This season, Brooklyn Rider released So Many Things with Anne Sofie von Otter on Naïve Records, which includes music by Colin Jacobsen, Caroline Shaw, Nico Muhly, Björk, Kate Bush and Elvis Costello, among others. Their tour together included stops at Carnegie Hall and the Opernhaus Zurich.
After performances at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in July, the quartet will tour the U.S. with choreographer Brian Brooks and former New York City Ballet prima ballerina Wendy Whelan, performing Some of a Thousand Words. Using music from a diverse array of composers, the series of duets and solos featuring Brooks and Whelan foregrounds the live music of the quartet as a dynamic creative component.
Other recent recordings include 2016’s The Fiction Issue with music by Gabriel Kahane, 2013’s A Walking Fire on Mercury Classics and The Impostor with Béla Fleck on Deutsche Grammophon/Mercury Classics, plus 2011’s much-praised Brooklyn Rider Plays Philip Glass on the composer’s Orange Mountain Music label.
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Bela Fleck with Brooklyn Rider