Campus News

Banjo player Béla Fleck to perform with Symphony Orchestra March 26

The Performing Arts Center will present Béla Fleck, the world’s premier banjo player, for his second Hodgson Hall appearance this season when he returns to perform his new Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra with the UGA Symphony Orchestra on March 26 at 8 p.m. with Mark Cedel conducting. The program also will include Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.

Tickets are $25 with discounts for students. They can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 706-542-4400.

A native New Yorker, Fleck began playing the banjo at 15 after being impressed by the bluegrass music of Flatt and Scruggs. In 1980, he released his first solo album, Crossing the Tracks, with material that ranged from straight ahead bluegrass to Chick Corea’s Spain. In 1982, Fleck joined the progressive bluegrass band New Grass Revival, and in 1989 he formed the genre-busting Flecktones. Boasting 14 Grammy Awards and 30 nominations, Fleck has been nominated in more categories than anyone in Grammy history.

Fleck premiered his Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra with the Nashville Symphony in September 2011. The composer dedicated the concerto to the late Earl Scruggs and has described the piece as “a liberating experience for my efforts as a composer and hopefully for the banjo as well.”

Since the 2011 premiere, Fleck has performed his new concerto with symphony orchestras around the country, but the Athens concert will be the first time Fleck has performed the piece with a university orchestra.

Nancy Riley, a graduate teaching assistant in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, will give a pre-concert lecture at 7:15 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The Performing Arts Center invites patrons to “Make It an Evening” by visiting the Georgia Museum of Art for dessert and gallery tours prior to the pre-concert lecture.