Festival Preview: Steve Reich, Jonny Greenwood and Dawn of Midi will headline Knoxville’s Big Ears Festival

bigears1Big Ears Festival returns to Knoxville this weekend with some of the most important composers and music creators in the country. Ashley Capps’ brainchild has been on hiatus the last few years, but it’s now coming back in a big way.

reichSteve Reich, the minimalist composer who invented acoustic phase-looping music (the technique behind the gems Drumming, Clapping Music, and Music for 18 Musicians) is artist-in-residence, and he’ll be on hand to perform.  Over the course of two days, So Percussion, Jonny Greenwood, and Ensemble Signal will also play his music.

In case you think this event is just contemporary classical, John Cale (of the Velvet Underground) closes Friday night’s events; Television, the pop-punk band that incorporated Reich’s minimalistic ideas into their celebrated form of rock-n-roll, closes Saturday’s. Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead, and the composer for There Will be Blood) performs Reich on Sunday. Greenwood’s orchestral works will be presented by Wordless Music Orchestra on Saturday afternoon.

So Percussion will present work by Bryce Dessner (The National) and Steve Reich’s Drumming.

midi Dawn of Midi plays Saturday, bringing their Dysnomia to Tennessee. This group is about as awesome as they come. For an uncanny review of this virtuosic trio, I refer you to Blair School of Music composer Stan Link’s letter to Rodger Coleman.

Big Ears also features notable guitar-based and electronica artists who are pushing the boundaries of their genres: Marc Ribot, Son Lux, Buke & Gase and Laraaji.

This weekend, celebrated innovators are coming to our musical state staking claims on the future of artistic musical practice…Are you going?  You should be.

Big Ears starts this Friday at 5 p.m. and closes Sunday evening.  1 day passes start at $65.  You can find these as well as the full line up at www.bigearsfestival.com.

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About Kyle J. Baker

Kyle J. Baker is a Nashville-based composer and impresario most known for directing Nashville's Soundcrawl Festival. He composes for acoustic and digital forces with a recurring emphasis on rhythmic post-minimal structures. Classical in heritage, but vernacular in vocabulary, his music has garnered such attention as 2008 Belmont University Composition Prize, Honorable Mention in the 2008 Pathways Young Band Composition Contest as well as distribution by Brassworks4.com, His notable teachers include Ken Read, John LaBarbara, Delfeayo Marsalis and William Pursell. Born in Scotland and raised in St. Louis, Baker holds an M.Mus from Belmont University and makes his home in Cane Ridge, Tenn. with his wife Joy and cat Lili.