The mandolinist, songwriter, MacArthur Fellow and radio host Chris Thile moves in the same circuit of genre-bending shredders and composers that includes bassist/composer Edgar Meyer, violinist Stuart Duncan, Yo-Yo Ma and more of America’s most accomplished and least categorizable musicians. If anything, Thile’s achievement is the most staggeringly diverse of them all. The virtuoso mandolinist came to fame young, as part of the massively popular newgrass trio Nickel Creek. But he was never meant for a single commercial niche, and the millions of fans Nickel Creek amassed must have found Thile’s subsequent project, the Punch Brothers, a head-scratcher, to put it politely. In the Punch Brothers, Thile aligned himself with the artier fringe of indie-rock, arranging his challenging, modernist art songs in a traditional bluegrass ensemble format. Since then, he has released collections of Bach Partitas for Solo Mandolin, a stunning and weird duet album with the jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, more records with the Punch Brothers and (to the surprise of many) a Nickel Creek reunion in 2014. Thile shreds not only the mandolin, but also whatever is left of the perceived walls dividing folk, rock, jazz and modern classical.
The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts presents a solo concert by Chris Thile in the intimate Event Gallery on Saturday, September 21 as part of the Vibrations series. Ticket prices begin at $59.
Chris Thile, Saturday, Sept. 21, 8 p.m., $59+, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, 200 Hurd Rd., Bethel, www.bethelwoodscenter.org