October 26, 2016
Nashville, Tenn. (October 26, 2016) – Mrs. David (Melissa) Mahanes III and Mrs. Laurence (Elizabeth) Papel, co-chairs of the 2016 Symphony Ball fundraiser, have proudly announced that banjoist Béla Fleck will be the recipient of the 2016 Harmony Award. Presented each year by the Nashville Symphony, the Harmony Award recognizes an individual who best exemplifies the harmonious spirit of Nashville’s musical community.
Fleck will be honored at the 32nd annual Symphony Ball on Saturday, December 10, 2016, at Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
“Being named this year’s Harmony Award winner is a wonderful honor,” said Fleck. “I’m so proud of our hometown Nashville Symphony, and being acknowledged by the organization in this way makes me ever more certain that I am on the right track.”
“Over the years,” said Mahanes, “Nashville Symphony’s Harmony Award has annually recognized those in the world of music who are both outstanding talents and important contributors to what makes Nashville such a special place. Throughout his illustrious career, Béla Fleck has brilliantly bridged the gap between a wide array of musical genres and styles, and established himself as a pioneering instrumentalist and songwriter.”
“With his adventurous spirit, Béla epitomizes everything this prestigious award represents,” added Papel. “He brought together the worlds of bluegrass and classical music in his concerto collaboration with the Nashville Symphony, and we are both thrilled to welcome him back to the Schermerhorn for what promises to be a special evening.”
Widely considered one of the world’s most innovative and groundbreaking banjoists, Béla Fleck has thrived in his exploration of everything from bluegrass, folk and rock to jazz and classical during a career that is now in its fourth decade. In that time, he has garnered 16 GRAMMY® Awards and has been nominated in more GRAMMY® categories than any other instrumentalist. His most recent win came in 2016, with Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn — the album he recorded with his wife — earning Best Folk Album.
In addition to critically acclaimed recordings and performances with New Grass Revival and Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Fleck’s talent and musicianship have made him a highly sought-after collaborator. He has worked with an impressive array of artists in his career, including Dave Matthews Band, Phish, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Chick Corea, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile and numerous others.
Fleck also has strong ties with the Nashville Symphony, which commissioned his first stand-alone banjo concerto, The Imposter. The piece, which premiered at Schermerhorn Symphony Center in September 2011, was released on Deutche Gramophone and has since been performed more than 40 times worldwide. An accompanying 2014 documentary, How to Write a Banjo Concerto, follows Fleck throughout the process of writing, arranging and performing the work.
Patrons Party to be held in Schermerhorn’s Balcony Lobby
As part of the theme of this year’s Ball — which celebrates the 50th anniversary of Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball at the Plaza Hotel — the Schermerhorn’s Balcony Lobby will be transformed to mimic the Plaza’s Palm Court for the Symphony Ball Patrons Party on Tuesday, November 15. The Balcony Lobby was chosen for the exclusive event for the first time in part to honor the 10th anniversary of Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
Additionally, The Peter Duchin Orchestra – which played at the original Black and White Ball – will perform during the 2016 Symphony Ball.
The Symphony Ball is Nashville’s premier winter social event and one of the Nashville Symphony’s two annual fundraisers. Since its inception in 1985, the Ball has raised more than $7 million for the Symphony, sustaining the organization’s mission of achieving excellence in musical performance and educational programs, while engaging the community, enriching audiences and shaping cultural life.
Past recipients of the Nashville Symphony’s Harmony Award include Miranda Lambert, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Amy Grant, LeAnn Rimes, Michael W. Smith, Mike & Linda Curb, Lyle Lovett, Trisha Yearwood, Dolly Parton, Steve Winwood, Vince Gill, Wynonna and Naomi Judd, Chet Atkins, Martina McBride, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Marty Stuart and Keith Urban.