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Big Ears Fest presents impressive lineup of new stimulating performances

Steve Reich
Steve Reich
Jeffrey Herman

Unjustly travelling under the radar of the music festival scene is the Big Ears Festival, which returns March 28-30 in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.

The fest offers a stimulating mix of visionary music, exploratory artworks and musicians whose material challenges stylistic conventions.

There will be new works by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, The National’s Bryce Dessner plus concerts by John Cale, Television, Body/Head, Marc Ribot, and Low and groundbreaking performers from the worlds of electronica, avant-rock, jazz including Tim Hecker, Julia Holter, Oneohtrix Point Never, Colin Stetson, Vatican Shadow, Nils Frahm, Mark McGuire, Bill Orcutt, Dean Wareham, Glenn Kotche, Susanna, Dawn of Midi and Son Lux.

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steve Reich will be in attendance. The Ensemble Signal will perform his 1976 masterpiece, “Music for 18 Musicians,” as well as his new “Radio Rewrite,” which is inspired by two songs from Radiohead.

Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood returns the favor when he performs Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint.”

There will also be a concert featuring Greenwood’s film scores including “There Will be Blood,” “The Master” and Norwegian Wood.”

The So Percussion will perform his 1971 classic “Drumming” and during tonight opening night concert it will perform a new collaboration with Buke and Gasel.

Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche will also collaborate with So Percussion in performances of his own work, along with music composed by Reich.

Dean & Britta will present the multi-media show, “13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests.”

Big Ears promoter, AC Entertainment, will also contribute to the local arts community. The Joy of Music School and the Community School of the Arts directly affect youth music education and involvement with arts. Students from both schools will also have the opportunity to take part in workshops and interact with the artists at this year’s festival.

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