Combining elements of jazz, jam-band, folk and classical music, Béla Fleck is teaming up with Brooklyn Rider for an unforgettable night!
Each Artist is Visionary in Their Music.
Widely considered the premier banjo player alive today, Béla has completely redefined the limits of His instrument. All the While, Brooklyn Rider is Hailed as “the future of chamber music” (Strings), Offering eclectic repertoire in gripping performances that continue to attract legions of fans and draw rave reviews from classical, world and rock critics alike.
Q&A with Béla
1. What inspired A collaboration With Brooklyn Rider?
I've always loved the string quartet configuration, ever since hearing my step father play cello in quartets at my house when I was a kid. That meant that banjo and string quartet together was a bucket list item for me. When I finally had the opportunity to write for string quartet, I asked around and many roads pointed to this particular quartet. They are fantastic collaborators and made my ideas sound better than they were!
2. When did you start playing your instrument; and, what or who were your early influences?
I started when I was 15, but got very excited about it when I was 4 or 5 after hearing Earl Scruggs playing the "Beverly Hillbillies" theme song. When I first began, I followed Earl - then got interested in everyone else who was bringing new ideas to the banjo. In particular, there is a wonderful player named Tony Trischka who became my inspiration and later my teacher.
3. Do you play more than one instrument?
I play a bit of guitar and mandolin. But banjo is my thing.
4. What has been one of your most memorable performances to date?
There have been so many... from opening for the Grateful Dead and collaborating with Dave Mathews Band, to concerts with Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis and so on. But, the first show with my group Bela Fleck and the Flecktones will always be a very special memory.
5. Pick 5 words—that start with the letter ‘B’—that best describe your performance.
Boundless. Bouncy. Beguiled. Bliss. Bodacious.
6. How does your music connect to the larger world?
Lots of people would like it if they heard it, I suspect. But it's harder and harder to find avenues to bring in new people. Fortunately, I'm pretty well established after all this time and there are lots of people who will give my new projects a chance. I think folks like me perform a meaningful role, kind of like outliers, who live near the edge of things and can bring things back to the community from outside of their experience.
7. What do you hope the audience takes away from your music?
I hope the sense of joy and curiosity inspires their own experience in life. And, I hope the music can find a place in their lives where it is meaningful.
8. What advice would you give any young musicians in the audience?
Find something that you love to do that no one else is doing. Grow the part of you that is most unique.
9. Whom do you define as visionary?
Edgar Meyer, Jerry Douglas, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Johan Sebastian Bach, Béla Bartok, Earl Scruggs and so forth.
10. What songs, artists or styles of music are you currently listening to?
I love the new Randy Newman record, Dark Matter. The Wood Brothers’ The Muse, David Bowie’s Blackstar, John Scofield’s Still Warm, Pat Metheny’s Offramp, Earl Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Banjo, Oumou Sangare’s Best of and so many more.