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Concert opens the 2009-10 Sound Alternatives series

Musicians Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain, and Edgar Meyer will perform at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, in the Williams Center for the Arts. This will be the first performance in Lafayette’s Sound Alternatives series.

The concert is sold out. Other performances in Sound Alternatives will be the Yamato Taiko Drummers, Nov. 12, $28; Noreum Machi, Feb. 9, $22; and Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, March 9, $22.

Three masterful genre-benders and the leading virtuosos on their respective instruments, Fleck, Hussain, and Meyer move with ease among classical, bluegrass, and world music. Their April concert at Carnegie Hall was the highlight of the Artist Perspectives series tribute to Hussain, leading to this first-ever trio tour of original music, including their innovative “Triple Concerto for Banjo, Tabla, and Double Bass.”  Fleck, Hussain and Meyer share among them an array of projects that touch every geographical and stylistic corner of the musical world.

Fleck is considered by many the premier banjo player in the world.  A New York City native, he picked up the banjo at age 15 after being awed by the bluegrass music of Flatt & 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, making a name for himself on countless solo and ensemble projects ever since as a virtuoso instrumentalist. Fleck at last 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. To date, he has been nominated in more different categories than anyone in Grammy history.

Hussain has not only established himself as a national treasure in his own country, India, but also an international phenomenon in the world of percussion. A classical tabla virtuoso of the highest order, he is the favorite accompanist for many of India’s greatest classical musicians and dancers. 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 demand as both a double bass performer and a composer, Meyer has been hailed by the New Yorker as “the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument.” As a solo classical bassist, Meyer has released concerto albums with Joshua Bell and Yo-Yo Ma and in 2006, he released a self-titled solo recording on which he wrote and played all of the pieces, incorporating piano, guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, gamba, and double bass.

The 2009-2010 Performance Series at Lafayette College is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts; by provisions of the Josephine Chidsey Williams Endowment, the J. Mahlon and Grace Buck Fund, the Croasdale Fund, the Class of ’73 Fund, the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence Program, the James Bradley Fund, and the Ed Brunswick Jazz Fund; and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Dexter and Dorothy Baker Foundation, and New England Foundation for the Arts. Special thanks to the F.M. Kirby Foundation for its extraordinary support.

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