For Immediate Release
Contact: Stephanie Janes PR, (617) 419-0445, firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrity Series of Boston
Gary Dunning, President and Executive Director
Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer
with Rakesh Chaurasia
Saturday, November 17, 2018, 8pm — Sanders Theatre
Fleck-Hussain-Meyer high-res photo | Fleck-Hussain-Meyer video preview
Celebrity Series Press Room (Boston)
Celebrity Series of Boston will present Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer with Rakesh Chaurasia on Saturday, November 17, 2018, at 8pm at Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall, Harvard University, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge. This performance is generously sponsored in part by Julia Byers and Steven Holtzman.
Remaining tickets start at $55 and are available online at www.celebrityseries.org, by calling (617) 482-6661 Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., or at the Sanders Theatre box office, Holyoke Center, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.
This concert marks the sixth Celebrity Series performance for Béla Fleck; he made his Celebrity Series debut in 2011 and was seen most recently last season with Abigail Washburn. This performance will be Edgar Meyer’s fourth Celebrity Series performance; he made his debut in 2012 as part of the Goat Rodeo Sessions and was seen most recently in 2017 with Yo-Yo Ma and Chris Thile performing the Bach trios. This will be the Celebrity Series debut for both Zakir Hussain and Rakesh Chaurasia.
Just in case you aren’t familiar with Béla Fleck, there are some who say he’s the world’s premier banjo player. 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, often reimagining it in unique settings. The 15-time Grammy Award winner has been nominated in more categories than any other artist in Grammy history, and remains a powerfully creative force globally in bluegrass, jazz, classical pop, rock and world beat.
His groundbreaking quartet Béla Fleck & The Flecktones is celebrating 30 years with a North American tour in the summer of 2018. Fleck and his wife Abigail Washburn took home the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album, and released the acclaimed follow up LP Echo in the Valley in 2017. The impact of fatherhood sparked Juno Concerto, a piece for banjo and orchestra, recorded with the Colorado Symphony and conducted by José Luis Gomez. Companion pieces to the Juno Concerto include “Griff” (G riff), featuring Béla with the Brooklyn Rider string quartet.
Any world-class musician born with the names Béla (for Bartok), Anton (for Dvorak) and Leos (for Janacek) would seem destined to play classical music. Fleck 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. Collaborating with Fleck on Perpetual Motion was his long-time colleague, Edgar Meyer, an amazing bassist/composer whose virtuosity defies labels.
In 2009, Béla 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 his first stand-alone banjo concerto, The Impostor, with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, which commissioned the work. It has now been performed over 50 times worldwide.
These days, Fleck performs in an astonishing variety of contexts: his concertos, a duo with Chick Corea, tonight’s trio with Edgar Meyer and Zakir Hussain and guest Rakesh Chaurasia, with the Brooklyn Rider string quartet, in banjo duet with Abigail Washburn, banjo and mandolin duet with Chris Thile, and occasionally back to bluegrass with his old friends Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton, and others. He collaborates with African artists such as Oumou Sangare and Toumani Diabate, in a jazz setting with The Marcus Roberts Trio, and with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, who continue to perform together 30 years after the band’s inception. Béla has recently accepted a commission to create his third concerto, which premiered 2018 in New Orleans.
Zakir Hussain is today appreciated both in the field of percussion and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon and one of the greatest musicians of our time. A classical tabla virtuoso of the highest order, his consistently brilliant and exciting performances have established him as a national treasure in his own country, India, and as one of India’s reigning cultural ambassadors. Along with his legendary father and teacher, Ustad Allarakha, he has elevated the status of his instrument both in India and around the world. His playing is marked by uncanny intuition and masterful improvisational dexterity, founded in formidable knowledge and study.
Widely considered a chief architect of the contemporary world music movement, Zakir’s contribution to world music has been unique, and includes historic collaborations with artists like Charles Lloyd and Eric Harland, and recordings and performances with artists as diverse as George Harrison, Yo-Yo Ma, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Airto Moreira, Pharoah Sanders, Billy Cobham, Mark Morris, Rennie Harris, Herbie Hancock, and the Kodo drummers. His music and extraordinary contribution to the music world were honored in April 2009, with four widely heralded and sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall’s Artist Perspective series. In 2007, readers’ polls from both Modern Drummer and Drum! Magazines named him Best World Music and Best Worldbeat Drummer respectively, and the Downbeat Critics’ Poll named him Best Percussionist in 2012. On February 8, 2009, Zakir received a Grammy in the Best Contemporary World Music category for Global Drum Project.
A child prodigy, Zakir was touring by the age of twelve. He came to the United States in 1970, performing his first USA concert at the Fillmore East in New York City with Pandit Ravi Shankar. A prolific composer and recording artist, Zakir has received widespread recognition for his many ensembles and collaborations. In 1987, his first solo release, Making Music, was acclaimed as “one of the most inspired East-West fusion albums ever recorded.” In 1992, Planet Drum, an album co-created and produced by Zakir and Mickey Hart, became the first recording to win a Grammy in the Best World Music category, the Downbeat Critics’ Poll for Best World Beat Album and the NARM Indie Best Seller Award for World Music Recording. Zakir received the distinct honor of co-composing the opening music for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He was commissioned to compose music for Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet (for which he received an Isadora Duncan Award), and to compose an original work for the San Francisco Jazz Festival, both in 1998.
He went on to compose three more scores for Lines Ballet, receiving another “Izzie.” He has received numerous grants, including participation in the Meet the Composer programs funded by the Pew Memorial Trust. In 2002, his commissioned work for choreographer Mark Morris’ “Kolam” premiered as part of YoYo Ma’s “Silk Road Project” with YoYo Ma and Zakir performing Zakir’s composition live for the performance. In September 2006, Triple Concerto for Banjo, Bass and Tabla, a piece co-composed by Zakir, Edgar Meyer and Bêla Fleck, was performed by them with the Nashville Symphony at the gala opening of the Schermerhorn Symphony Hall in Nashville. In January 2009, it was re-created with the Detroit Symphony, again under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. This performance and new original works composed by Zakir, Edgar and Bêla, was released as the Grammy-nominated The Melody of Rhythm.
Zakir’s second concerto, Concerto for Four Soloists, a special commission for the National Symphony Orchestra, was performed at Kennedy Center in March 2011, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. His third concerto, Peshkar, the first-ever tabla concerto, was premiered in September 2015, by the Symphony Orchestra of India, in Europe in January 2016, and in the United States in April, 2017, by the National Symphony Orchestra.
Zakir is the recipient of the 1999 National Heritage Fellowship, the United States’ most prestigious honor for a master in the traditional arts, presented by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the United States Senate on September 28, 1999. In 2005, he was named an Old Dominion Fellow by the Humanities Council at Princeton University, where he resided for the 2005-2006 autumn semester as full professor; he taught again at Stanford University and the University of Washington. On January 18, 2017, Zakir was presented with SFJazz’s Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of his “unparalleled contribution to the world of music.”
In 1992, Zakir founded Moment! Records, which features original collaborations in the field of contemporary world music and live concert performances by great masters of the classical music of India. Moment! Records’ 2006 release, Golden Strings of the Sarode with Aashish Khan and Zakir Hussain, was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Traditional World Music category for that year. Moment Records’ recent DVD release, Zakir Hussain: The SF Jazz Sessions, featuring a host of Zakir’s world-class collaborators, has been critically acclaimed.
In demand as both a performer and a composer, Edgar Meyer has formed a role in the music world unlike any other. Hailed by The New Yorker as “...the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively un-chronicled history of his instrument”, Mr. Meyer’s unparalleled technique and musicianship, in combination with his gift for composition, have brought him to the fore, where he is appreciated by a vast, varied audience. His uniqueness in the field was recognized by a MacArthur Award in 2002.
As a solo classical bassist, Mr. Meyer can be heard on a concerto album with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by Hugh Wolff featuring Bottesini’s Gran Duo with Joshua Bell, Meyer’s own Double Concerto for Bass and Cello with Yo-Yo Ma, Bottesini’s Bass Concerto No. 2, and Meyer’s own Concerto in D for Bass. He has also recorded an album featuring three of Bach’s Unaccompanied Suites for Cello. In 2006, he released a self-titled solo recording on which he wrote and recorded all of the music, incorporating piano, guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, gamba, and double bass. In 2007, recognizing his wide-ranging recording achievements, Sony/BMG released a compilation of The Best of Edgar Meyer. In 2011 Mr. Meyer joined cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, and fiddler Stuart Duncan for the Sony Masterworks recording The Goat Rodeo Sessions, which was awarded the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Folk Album. Mr. Meyer was honored with his fifth Grammy Award in 2015 for Best Contemporary Instrumental album for his Bass & Mandolin collaboration with his long-time partner, fellow MacArthur Awardee Chris Thile. This Nonesuch release was a follow-up to their genre-bending 2008 CD/DVD, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile. His most recent recording is a 2017collection of Bach Trios with Thile and Yo-Yo Ma.
As a composer, Mr. Meyer has carved out a remarkable and unique niche in the musical world. One of his most recent compositions is the Double Concerto for Double Bass and Violin, which received its world premiere July 2012 with Joshua Bell at the Tanglewood Music Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Meyer and Mr. Bell have also performed the work at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Aspen Music Festival, and with the Nashville and Toronto symphony orchestras. In the 2011-12 season, Mr. Meyer was composer in residence with the Alabama Symphony, where he premiered his third concerto for double bass and orchestra. Other compositions of Mr. Meyer’s include a violin/piano work which has been performed by Joshua Bell at New York’s Lincoln Center, a quintet for bass and string quartet premiered with the Emerson String Quartet and recorded on Deutsche Grammophon, a Double Concerto for Bass and Cello premiered with Yo-Yo Ma and The Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, and a violin concerto written for Hilary Hahn which was premiered and recorded by Ms. Hahn with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra led by Hugh Wolff.
Collaborations are a central part of Mr. Meyer’s work, and include performing and recording in a duo with Bêla Fleck, a quartet with Joshua Bell, Sam Bush, and Mike Marshall, a trio with Bêla Fleck and Mike Marshall, and a trio with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor. The latter combined to create the 1996 Appalachia Waltz release, which soared to the top of the charts and remained there for 16 weeks. Their follow-up recording, Appalachian Journey, was honored with a Grammy Award. In the 2006-2007 season, Mr. Meyer premiered a piece for double bass and piano performed with Emanuel Ax.
Rakesh Chaurasia, the nephew and child prodigy of flute maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, has a famous name to live up to. Amongst the promising musicians of the second generation, Rakesh has carved a niche for himself as an accomplished flautist. Infusing his personal style with the tradition of his renowned uncle, he has evolved an approach that maintains the purity of the flute while also managing to capture the attention of young listeners. The most accomplished of his uncle’s disciples, he promises to carry the Chaurasia legacy to new heights.
Rakesh’s flute has matched note and rhythm with wind instruments of other cultures as well as having performed with Carnatic and world famous instrumentalists. Rakesh’s forte is in blending his flute without really losing its identity in mixed instruments’ concerts. Rakesh has already globe-trotted many times over, enthralling audiences at classical and non-classical concerts. He is also an accomplished studio musician, having recorded with most of the leading stalwarts of the Indian film industry. Rakesh has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. He received the Indian Music Academy Award, presented by the Honourable President Of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2007, the Aditya Birla Kalakiran Puraskar in 2008, the Guru Shishya Award in 2011, IWAP-Pandit Jasraj Sangeet Ratna Award in 2013 and the Pannalal Ghosh Puraskar 2013.
Despite his experimental work, Rakesh has never deviated from his main goal of becoming a full-fledged classical musician. He has regularly appeared in prominent festivals such as the WOMAD festival in Athens, Womad Earthstation in Europe, and the ‘Festivals of India’ in Russia, Japan, the US, and Europe. His growing maturity and status has brought him invitations to perform solo at major events within India and abroad, including the Festival of Saint-Denis in Paris and the Leicester International Music Festival in England. Most notably, Rakesh was invited to conclude the twenty-four hour live BBC Radio broadcast celebrating Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee, reaching audiences worldwide.
About Celebrity Series of Boston
Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond. Over the course of its 80-year history, Celebrity Series has presented an array of the world’s greatest performing artists, including including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Marian Anderson, Emanuel Ax, Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo, Béla Bartók, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Kirsten Flagstad, Renée Fleming, Dizzy Gillespie, Glenn Gould, Martha Graham, Herbie Hancock, Vladimir Horowitz, Diana Krall, Fritz Kreisler, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Ignace Paderewski, Luciano Pavarotti, Itzhak Perlman, Leontyne Price, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Mstislav Rostropovich, Artur Rubenstein, Andrés Segovia, Igor Stravinsky, Arturo Toscanini, and many more.
Now presenting orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, contemporary dance, jazz, spoken word, and more, Celebrity Series believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experiences, transform lives and build better communities. Through its Arts for All! community programs, Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience – on stages, on streets, in neighborhoods – everywhere.
Celebrity Series of Boston is grateful to our 2018-19 Season Sponsors Amy & Joshua Boger, and to the many individuals, including Donna & Michael Egan and Eleanor & Frank Pao; corporations, foundations, and government agencies whose support helps fulfil our mission to present performing artists who inspire and enrich our community. Institutional supporters include the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative, Garbis and Arminé Barsoumian Charitable Foundation, Boston Cultural Council, The Boston Foundation, Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, The Catered Affair, Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Deloitte LLP, D.L. Saunders Real Estate Corp., First Republic Bank, Foley & Lardner LLP, Liberty Mutual Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, The Peabody Foundation, Cynthia and John S. Reed Foundation, Royal Little Family Foundation, Stifler Family Foundation, Tufts Health Plan, and many others. celebrityseries.org ###