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When world-renowned banjo player Béla Fleck was commissioned to write his first banjo concerto, he knew it would be a long, deep and challenging experience. The master musician decided to film the yearlong journey, and the result is Béla Fleck: How to Write a Banjo Concerto, a very personal look at the artist and his process.

The film follows Fleck through his solo writing expeditions, his interviews with the classical musicians for whom he’s writing the piece, and his interactions with friends, family and mentors who watch him while he works. “I realized when I was writing this piece that I had never actually written a whole piece — every note of a piece — in my whole life, even though people consider me a composer or a writer who has written a lot of tunes,” says Fleck of “The Impostor,” the piece he eventually debuts with the Nashville Symphony backing him.

Even if you’re unfamiliar with Fleck’s work, the documentary is a fascinating glimpse into how a musician — one who doesn’t even read music — could create a masterpiece for the world to enjoy. Béla Fleck: How to Write a Banjo Concerto screens tonight only at 8 p.m. at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. Fleck will be on hand for a Q&A session after the film. Tickets are $20 to $25 and are available at the Sie box office, online at, or by calling 303-595-3456.
Tue., June 17, 8 p.m., 2014


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