Béla Fleck to play with the Britt Orchestra


Known for his explorations of new musical territory and considered by many to be the world's greatest banjo player, Béla Fleck has been nominated in more genres than any musician in Grammy history. Already a powerfully creative force in bluegrass, jazz, pop, rock and world beat, It was only natural that he delve into Classical music. He performs with the Britt Orchestra on Friday, August 8 for a special evening of music, both old and new including a groundbreaking work that is sweeping the nation's concert halls to rave reviews. Béla Fleck has performed at the Britt twelve times, but never with the Britt Orchestra.

A world-class star in the new generation of musicians who collaborate across all musical genres, Béla (for Bartok) Anton (for Dvorak) Leos (for Janacek) Fleck seems destined to play classical music by his very name. In 2011 he was commissioned by the Nashville Symphony to compose The Impostor-Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra. Released on cd by Deutsche Grammaphone last August, the composer says, "This piece is the culmination of many years of getting up the nerve to see if I could write for banjo and orchestra." This is a rare opportunity to hear the composer perform his pioneering new piece.

In a blend of traditional and new, Maestro Abrams has chosen to feature one of the great masterpieces of traditional orchestral repertoire-Brahms' First Symphony-on the second half of this exciting program. As Fleck set out to write a concerto for banjo and orchestra, he had to overcome his own hesitation. In the program notes, Fleck expresses his intimidation about composing for a large orchestra, and how the narrative of the music is that of a hero’s journey.

Fleck says, “The banjo is the hero in this play and is trying to avoid the truth of who he is, but in the end cannot avoid it. In the first movement, especially with its solo cadenzas, the banjo is at its most ‘classical,’ even though I wasn’t trying to emulate any particular composer. But you can hear an evolution in my own writing of the piece as it goes on. As it continues, I become more comfortable with the idea that this can be whatever I want it to be, and it ends by returning to my roots in bluegrass and Earl Scruggs.