EMF also welcomes the 2023 Rosen-Schaffel Concerto Competition Winner, Carter Doolittle

GREENSBORO, N.C. (May 16, 2024) – Eastern Music Festival is proud to announce a collaboration between legendary banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck and the Eastern Festival Orchestra. As the opening Saturday of the festival’s 2024 season titled “Celebrations and Rhapsodies”, the evening celebrates virtuosic musicianship and new takes on old classics.

This performance will take place on June 29, 2024, at 8:00 PM, in Dana Auditorium located on the scenic campus of Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. Blending Gershwin’s classic masterpiece with Fleck’s distinctive flair with the orchestra, the piece showcases Béla’s ability to seamlessly traverse different musical landscapes while maintaining compositional integrity. The program will also include Tchaikovsky’s monumental Symphony No. 5, Debussy’sRhapsody for Saxophone and Orchestra with soloist Carter Doolittle, and Celebration for Orchestra by American Composer Ellen Zwilich.

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Renowned for his innovation and mastery of the banjo, Béla Fleck has redefined the instrument’s possibilities, pushing musical boundaries and captivating audiences worldwide. Many hail Fleck as the world’s premier banjo player, a sentiment supported by his impressive accolades, including 17 Grammys and 39 award nominations across various genres including classical composition and arranging. His diverse repertoire includes concertos and arrangements for full symphony orchestras, exploring the banjo’s African roots, and collaborating with Indian musical royalty Zakir Hussain and Rakesh Chaurasia, to performing as a folk duo with wife Abigail Washburn and jazz duos with Chick Corea.

“We are thrilled to welcome Béla Fleck back to Eastern Music Festival,” said Chris Williams, Executive Director of the Eastern Music Festival. “His unparalleled talent and creative vision breathes new life into ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ offering audiences a fresh perspective on this timeless classic.”

Eastern Music Festival, which is renowned for its commitment to artistic excellence and innovation, is a five-week summer performance program that attracts aspiring professional musicians ages 14-23 from around the globe. Held from June 22 to July 27, 2024, the festival features concerts, masterclasses, and workshops led by EMF faculty and guest artists.

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience Béla Fleck and the Eastern Festival Orchestra as they celebrate the centennial of one of the most beloved compositions in the history of American music.

EMF Box Office: EMF Ticketing Office hours are 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Contact us by phone at 336.333.7450, ext. 221 or purchase tickets online ateasternmusicfestival.org/tickets

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