Fred Frith

Multi-instrumentalist, composer, and improviser Fred Frith has been making noise of one kind or another for almost fifty years, starting with the iconic rock collective Henry Cow, which he co-founded with Tim Hodgkinson in 1968.

Frith is best known as a pioneering electric guitarist and improviser, song-writer, and composer for film, dance, and theater. Through bands like Art Bears, Massacre, Skeleton Crew, Keep the Dog, the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, and Cosa Brava, he has stayed close to his roots in rock and folk music while branching out in many other directions.

His compositions have been performed by ensembles ranging from Arditti Quartet and the Ensemble Modern to Concerto Köln and Galax Quartet, from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra to ROVA and Arte Sax Quartets, from rock bands Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Ground Zero to the Glasgow Improvisers’ Orchestra.

The recipient of Italy’s Demetrio Stratos Prize for his life’s work in experimental music and an honorary doctorate from the University of Huddersfield in his home county of Yorkshire, Frith is Professor Emeritus at the legendary epicenter of American experimental music, Mills College, in Oakland, California. For ten years until his retirement in 2020 he co-directed the improvisation master’s program at the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland and is visiting faculty at the Universidad Austral in Valdivia, Chile, where he helped to develop the curriculum for the new Escuela de Artes Musicales y Sonores.

Frith is the subject of Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel’s much-loved Step Across the Border, cited by Cahiers du Cinéma as one of the 20th century’s hundred most influential films.

Fred Frith Performances

Knoxville, TN · USA



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