Banjo great Béla Fleck joins Brooklyn Rider

Billings concert pairs banjo luminary with string quartet Jan. 21 at the Alberta Bair

New & Notable
Brooklyn Rider
Brooklyn Rider shares the Alberta Bair stage with Bela Fleck, Jan. 21 in Billings.Photo © Erin Baiano

Tickets remain for the unique pairing of multi Grammy Award-winning banjo player Béla Fleck with eclectic string quartet Brooklyn Rider, a performance of Alberta Bair Theater’s Orser Outstanding Performances Series, at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21.

Fleck is known for virtually reinventing the image and sound of banjo as proven by a remarkable performing and recording career that has taken him all over the musical map and generated a range of solo projects and collaborations. He’s earned 15 Grammy Awards and has been nominated in more categories than any other artist in Grammy history. Most recently, Fleck and his wife Abigail Washburn took home the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album.

In 2009, Fleck 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, Fleck unveiled his second concerto, “Juno,” which was named for his son, Juno, and co-commissioned by the Canton, Colorado, South Carolina, and Louisville Symphony Orchestras in 2015.

“Every note of the concerto is colored by the experience of being a new father,” says Fleck, who became a father for the first time at age 55, “and how that has changed what is important to me as a person, as well as what I wish to express through music.”

Fleck chose Brooklyn Rider – Johnny Gandelsman and Colin Jacobsen, violins; Nicholas Cords, viola; and Michael Nicolas, cello – to explore this classical musical ground as a player and composer in both “Night Flight Over Water,” recorded on The Imposter and “Griff,” recorded on Juno Concerto.

Brooklyn Rider celebrated its 10th anniversary recently with the groundbreaking multi-disciplinary project Brooklyn Rider Almanac, for which it recorded and toured 15 specially commissioned works, each inspired by a different artistic muse.

ABT’s Orser Outstanding Performances Series is presented by Eileen Orser. Tickets, $29-$44 and $20 for students with valid I.D., are available at the Alberta Bair Theater Box Office on the corner of 3rd Ave. N. and N. Broadway, by phone at 406-256-6052 and online at