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Bela Fleck and Chris Thile
May 24 , 2017 • KNIGHT THEATER at Levine Center for the Arts
- Prices begin at $29.50
Just in case you aren’t familiar with Béla Fleck, there are many who say he’s the premiere banjo player in the world. 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.
Born and raised in New York City, Béla began his musical career playing the guitar. In the early 1960’s, while watching the Beverly Hillbillies, the bluegrass sounds of Flatt & Scruggs flowed out of the TV set and into his young brain. Earl Scruggs’s banjo style hooked Béla’s interest immediately. “It was like sparks going off in my head” he later said.
Already a powerfully creative force in bluegrass, jazz, pop, rock and world beat, Béla at last 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.
The recipient of Multiple Grammy Awards going back to 1998, Béla Flecks’ total Grammy count is 14 Grammys won, and 30 nominations. He has been nominated in more different categories than any instrumentalist in Grammy history.
Multiple Grammy Award-winner and MacArthur Fellow Chris Thile, a member of Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek, and now the host of A Prairie Home Companion, is a mandolin virtuoso, composer and vocalist. With his broad outlook that encompasses classical, rock, jazz, and bluegrass, Thile transcends the borders of conventionally circumscribed genres, creating a distinctly American canon and a new musical aesthetic for performers and audiences alike.
A child prodigy, Thile first rose to fame as a member of Grammy Award-winning trio Nickel Creek, with whom he released three albums and sold over two million records. In 2014, along with a national tour, the trio released a new album, A Dotted Line, their first since 2005.
As a soloist, Thile has released five albums including his most recent, Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol.1, which was produced by renowned bassist Edgar Meyer. In February 2013, Thile won a Grammy for his work on The Goat Rodeo Sessions, collaborating with Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Stuart Duncan. In September 2014, Thile and Meyer released their latest album collaboration, Bass + Mandolin, which won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. Punch Brothers released their latest album, The Phosphorescent Blues, in January 2015, and a follow up EP, The Wireless, in November of the same year. Most recently, Thile released a double-album with Brad Mehldau, titled Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau, in January 2017.
Beginning in fall of 2016, Thile took the helm of A Prairie Home Companion, a public radio favorite since 1974. Garrison Keillor, the show’s creator and host announced: “He is, I think, the great bluegrass performer of our time and he is a beautiful jazz player. There just isn’t anything he can’t do — and he is very enthusiastic about live radio.”
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