Fleck, Bela


  • From New York City.
  • Of Hungarian descent. He was named after the composer Bela Bartok. His brother Ludwig was named after Beethoven.
  • First musical instruments: guitar and french horn. As a young teen was accepted into the New York High School of Music and Art for artistically gifted students.
  • Converted to the banjo after hearing “The Beverly Hillbillies” on TV and the movie “Deliverance” featuring “Dueling Banjos.”
  • Took banjo lessons from Tony Trischka.
  • 1976, formed Tasty Licks with guitarist Pat Enright (now with The Nashville Bluegrass Band).
  • 1979, formed Spectrum with mandolinist Jimmy Gaudreau.
  • 1981-1989, was a member of New Grass Revival.
  • 1990, won the IBMA award for Banjo Player of the Year.
  • 1990, formed his jazz group The Flecktones. Spent his life savings to produce their first album, which was subsequently picked up by Warner Brothers.
  • 2000, toured with the Dave Matthews Band.
  • 2005, recorded Throw Down Your Heart in Africa as he researched the music and the instruments that were precursors to the modern banjo. A documentary film of this project was also released.
  • 2008, toured and recorded as a member of Abigail Washburn’s “Sparrow Quartet.” He and Abigail married in 2009.
  • 2011, premiered his “Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra” with the Nashville Symphony.
  • 2014, delivered the keynote address at the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass business conference.