Knoxville presents the internationally acclaimed Big Ears Festival – declared “the most ambitious avant-garde festival to emerge in America in more than decade” by Rolling Stone – bringing together musical leaders and innovators from the worlds of classical, jazz, electronic, folk, hip-hop and beyond for the weekend of March 31 – April 2, 2016.
Heralded American composer John Luther Adams – winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music as well as the 2014 Grammy Award for “Best Classical Composition” – will serve as Composer-in-Residence at this year’s festival. Hailed as “one of the most original music thinkers of the new century” by The New Yorker, Adams’ work combines rich musical experience with his love for the natural world, especially the wild Arctic landscapes of Alaska, where he lived for nearly 40 years. Several of his key works will be performed during the Big Ears weekend, including his powerful, sweeping orchestral masterpiece, Become Ocean, in a concert by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Steven Schick.
Editor’s Note: Musician and Music Writer Adam Whipple will celebrate five years of covering Big Ears for Celebrate Knoxville and will bring his unique perspective online for our readers in 2016.
Big Ears will also present at least two very special rare performances during the weekend. New music icons and Big Ears alumni Laurie Anderson and Philip Glass will present the American debut of their unique collaboration, thus far heard only once this past summer in Italy. In addition, the legendary 1972 minimalist/industrial rock creation by violinist/filmmaker Tony Conrad with German “Krautrock” legends Faust, Outside the Dream Syndicate, will be heard live in its only concert performance in 2016.
The remainder of the weekend will see dozens of concerts by a virtual who’s who of the world’s most iconoclastic and visionary music artists.