Big Ears Festival Expanded Lineup Announced

Source: Big Ears Festival. More acts added to this March festival.

BIG EARS EXPANDS 2020 LINEUP

PATTI SMITH and HER BAND
Performance & Literary Program

A WINGED VICTORY FOR THE SULLEN / AROOJ AFTAB’S VULTURE PRINCE ENSEMBLE / BELL ORCHESTRE
CHE APALACHE / THE CLAUDIA QUINTET / FENNESZ / JOSEPHINE FOSTER
BEN LAMAR GAY QUARTET / SAM GENDEL / JACOB KIRKEGAARD / SONJA LABIANCA / NIVHEK
ASTRID SONNE / GYDA VALTYSDOTTIR / D. SCOT WILLIAMS

ENSEMBLE DAL NIENTE + KEN VANDERMARK
THEREMIN NOIR with Rob Schwimmer / Uri Caine / Mark Feldman

The Big Ears lineup has expanded to include the 100th anniversary of the invention of the Theremin, where Theramin master Rob Schwimmer will lead a trio featuring pianist Uri Caine and violinist Mark Feldman in a concert marking the 20th anniversary and recent release of their collaboration, Theremin Noir.

Montreal’s post-rock chamber ensemble Bell Orchestre, featuring Arcade Fire members Sarah Neufeld and Richard Reed Parry, will make their Big Ears debut on the heels of a long-awaited new recording. Adam Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran’s A Winged Victory for the Sullen return to Big Ears with a stunningly beautiful new recording, The Undivided Five, inspired by the mystic Swedish painter, Hilma af Klint.

Chicago’s groundbreaking chamber ensemble Dal Niente will be joined by saxophone virtuoso Ken Vandermark, performing music written for them by Roscoe Mitchell, along with works by Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, and others contemporary composers. Dal Niente and Vandermark are also planning a kaleidoscopic array of performances at the Knoxville Museum of Art during the festival weekend.

Fennesz, whose richly textured guitar and electronics dazzled the very first Big Ears audience on opening night back in 2009, returns to the festival at long last. His latest release, Agora, was cited as one of the best recordings of the year in Pitchfork, which described it has having “a cumulative force that is unlike anything he’s done in years.”

Nivhek is the name of a new project from Big Ears alum, Liz Cooper (Grouper), also cited by Pitchfork as one of the finest records of 2019, “…her music remains in an enigmatic class of its own.”

Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard will bring his evocative and mysterious explorations of the world that surrounds us, with both installations and live performance.

New additions include Pakistani singer / composer Arooj Aftab’s Vulture Prince Ensemble, with Gyan Riley, Maeve Gilchrest, Shazad Ismaily, and Greg Fox; the mysterious mezzo-soprano folk singer Josephine Foster channeling Harry Smith’s “old weird America;” composer / percussionist extraordinaire John Hollenbeck’s minimalist/maximalist post-jazz ensemble, The Claudia Quintet; Chicago’s adventurous, boundary-pushing composer / cornet player Ben LaMar Gay and his band; an evocative solo performance from Múm’s cellist and singer Gyda Valtysdottir; saxophonist Sam Gendel’s haunting reimagining of jazz standards; the spirited Argentine / Mexican / North Carolina string band wizardry of Che Apalache; composer/performer Astrid Sonne, who explores perception and its accompanying emotional states through her viola and electronics; Sonja LaBianca, whose solo saxophone performances create poetic, minimalist soundscapes; cellist D. Scot Williams performs solo music by Hindemith, Crumb, and Overall.

Additional artists and special performances will be announced in the coming weeks, along with information about the film and literary programs, talks and discussions, and other facets of the Big Ears experience.