Béla Fleck has made a career of showing what can be done on the banjo – and several years ago tried his hand at writing a concerto he called The Imposter. He’s now written his second, inspired by and named after his son, the Juno Concerto, and it has just been released on CD, with the Colorado Symphony.
There’s more information about the recording at Béla Fleck’s website.
The name of his first concerto described how he felt, bringing his banjo into the world of the orchestral concert hall. “I wasn’t sure I was ever going to write another one, I was kind of amazed that I managed to get through the first one. But somebody actually asked me to write a second concerto, the Canton Symphony in Ohio. At the point that they asked me, I had now played the Imposter Concerto a bunch of times, in fact at this point, something like fifty times I’ve played that piece.” And that experience, has helped in the creation of the second work. “I might have learned a lot of things, even unconsciously, just from being around orchestras so much, and when I’d go perform The Imposter, I wouldn’t just do my part and leave, I would watch them rehearse, and listen to the way the instruments blended, and I would talk to the musicians and make friends with them.” But as perhaps the most successful banjo virtuoso out there, he can approach this kind of project on his own terms: “I don’t have time to become a great classical composer, I don’t have enough years left to learn all those rules and how that stuff works, so…I’m just a guy from outside of it who’s taking a shot. Now I’ve taken two shots.”