Big Ears Festival

Well, it's that time of year again. The time that fans of avant garde music from all over the world anxiously await: the reveal of the lineup for Knoxville's Big Ears Festival. Rolling Stones magazine has called Big Ears "America's biggest avant garde party", while The New Yorker writes that: "The sounds are the stars, free of the tyranny of categories."  It's hard to describe this one-of-a-kind festival that celebrates innovation, creativity, and expression through music, film, and art.

Percussionist, conductor, teacher, and author, Steven Schick, grew up on a farm in Northern Iowa, where he learned the important lesson of hard work and also came to appreciate the sounds of nature. 

A few days ago, Steven visited WUOT and chatted candidly with morning concert host, Melony Dodson, about why he chose percussion, why he performs contemporary music, how he "fell into" conducting, and views on music in general.

The Knoxville-based contemporary music ensemble, Nief-Norf, presents three sets at this year's Big Ears Festival.  Each set has a different theme and features music by numerous composers.  Dr. Andrew Bliss, the artistic director of the ensemble and also Director of Percussion at the University of TN talked with Morning Concert host, Melony Dodson, about the music that they are performing and a little bit about the group itself.

The Chicago-based chamber group, eighth blackbird, combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band, and the staging of a theatre company. This energetic, four-time Grammy award-winning sextet celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2016 and also celebrates being awarded the 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.  eighth blackbird has been described by the Chicago Tribune as "one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet." 

A Big Ears Interview With Cellist Maya Beiser

Mar 31, 2016

Whitney Dodds talks with Maya Beiser about the Big Ears Festival, defying musical genres and being a cello goddess.

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