Béla Fleck, banjo, orchestra and Sibelius work together in harmony

Bela Fleck
Béla Fleck

Béla Fleck has long been admired as a banjo soloist, songwriter, composer, and bandleader of the Flecktones. As USA Today reported recently, you can add “tech enthusiast” to that list.

According to USA Today, Béla uses a variety of music apps such as iTabla Pro, iReal B and Scales Lexicon, as well as tour and travel apps when he’s on the road. But when it comes to scoring music, like he did recently for his “Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra,” Béla used Sibelius:

So to let the violin, cello and tuba players know what to play, he uses Avid’s Sibelius 6 notation software to transpose music. “I sing the part into the iPhone and then play it on the banjo. Then I bring it into Sibelius.” Discovering the software “was eye-opening for me. With an orchestra, you don’t have a lot of time to work on it and practice. But the software spells out the intensity, how many violins should play, everything. I can speak music, but I can’t speak their language without it.”

Back in 2011, this blog reported on Béla’s concerto as it was in progress, including his working process with copyist and arranger Bruce Dailey.

On his tour bus, Béla practiced his concerto, using a MacBookPro running Sibelius as accompaniment:


Béla premiered his concerto on September 22, 2011 with the Nashville Symphony, conducted by music director Giancarlo Guerrero, and has performed it recently with the Alabama Symphony and just last month with the Cleveland Orchestra.

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