A Broyhill Classic Concert Series Event

Series Sponsorship provided by the Broyhill Family Foundation.
Supporting Sponsorship provided by The Campus Store.

photo: Brandon Marshall

Experience a night of groundbreaking musical fusion as the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra, under the baton of Gerard Schwarz, collaborates with 16-time Grammy-winning banjo master Béla Fleck. Béla will showcase his unique interpretation of Gershwin’s iconic “Rhapsody in Blue” (which turns 100 this year!), seamlessly weaving his virtuosity with the orchestra accompanying him, followed by familiar works of Tchaikovsky and more.


Gerard Schwarz, Music Director
Bela Fleck, banjo
Carter Doolittle, alto saxophone
     2023 Rosen-Schaffel Concerto Competition Winner


Celebration                                                                          ELLEN TAFFE ZWILICH
Rhapsody for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, L. 98       CLAUDE DEBUSSY
     Carter Doolittle, alto saxophone
“Rhapsody in Blue”                                                            GEORGE GERSHWIN/trans. Fleck
     Bela Fleck, banjo
Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op.64                                    PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
     Andante; Allegro con anima
     Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza
     Valse: Allegro moderato
     Finale: Andante maestoso; Allegro vivace 

LOCATION: Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, 733 Rivers St., Boone, NC 28608

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact the Box Office at theschaefercenter@appstate.edu or call 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046.



Tier 1: $50
Tier 2: $40
Tier 3: $30
Children (12 and younger): $10

Sunday, June 30, 2024 | 7pm
Doors open at 6pm


Just in case you aren’t familiar with Béla Fleck, there are many who say he’s the premiere banjo player in the world. Others claim that Fleck has virtually reinvented the image and the sound of the banjo through a remarkable performing and recording career that has taken him all over the musical map and on a range of solo projects and collaborations. If you are familiar with Fleck, you know that he just loves to play the banjo, and put it into unique settings. A 16-time Grammy Award winner, Fleck has the virtuosic, jazz-to-classical ingenuity of an iconic instrumentalist and composer with bluegrass roots. His collaborations range from his ground-breaking standard-setting ensemble Béla Fleck and the Flecktones to a staggeringly broad array of musical experiments. His most recent release and 2022 Grammy Award-winning album, My Bluegrass Heart, was Fleck’s return to bluegrass and spotlighted a multi-generational gamut of the best of bluegrass players. From writing concertos for full symphony orchestra, exploring the banjo’s African roots, and collaborating with Indian musical royalty Zakir Hussain and Rakesh Chaurasia with Edgar Meyer, to performing as a folk duo with wife Abigail Washburn, and jazz duos with Chick Corea, many tout that Béla Fleck is the world’s premier banjo player. As Jon Pareles wrote for The New York Times, “That’s a lot of territory for five strings.” The Solo Concert will bring together all of Fleck’s diverse influences to create a flowing musical statement.


Internationally recognized for his moving performances, innovative programming, and extensive catalogue of recordings, American conductor Gerard Schwarz serves as Music Director of the All-Star Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival, Palm Beach Symphony and Mozart Orchestra of New York, and is Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Emeritus of the Mostly Mozart Festival. He is Distinguished Professor of Music; Conducting and Orchestral Studies of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and Music Director of the Frost Symphony Orchestra. His considerable discography of over 350 albums showcases his collaborations with some of the world’s greatest orchestras. 

Schwarz began his professional career as co-principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic and has held Music Director positions with the Mostly Mozart Festival, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and New York Chamber Symphony. He is also a gifted composer and arranger with an extensive catalogue of works that have been premiered by ensembles across the United States, Europe and Korea.

In his nearly five decades as a respected classical musician and conductor, Schwarz has received hundreds of honors and accolades including Emmy Awards, Grammy nominations, ASCAP Awards and the Ditson Conductor’s Award. He was the first American named Conductor of the Year by Musical America and has received numerous honorary doctorates. His book, Behind the Baton, was released by Amadeus Press in March 2017. 


For more than six decades, Eastern Music Festival (EMF), a nationally recognized summer educational program and classical music festival, has been produced on the campus of Guilford College and other venues in Greensboro, North Carolina. EMF is distinguished by its accomplished faculty, exhilarating repertoire, and world-renowned visiting artists under the artistic direction of Gerard Schwarz. A powerful teaching institution, EMF provides encouragement and guidance to over 270 young musicians from across the country and around the globe as they take pivotal steps towards careers in the performing arts.