Big Ears 2017 is a few short weeks away, but we just couldn’t resist adding even more artists plus some new performances by current Big Ears artists to the stellar festival schedule. First up, in addition to Gavin Bryars’ performance of his seminal piece The Sinking of the Titanic, we’re excited to announce an additional performance by The Gavin Bryars Ensemble, performing the composer and double bassist’s stunning classic work Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, with members of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, at The Mill & Mine on Sunday. In addition to her two performances at St. John’s Cathedral, “New York’s queen of avant-garde piano” (The New Yorker) Lisa Moore will treat festivalgoers to a performance of sonically charged works from her two latest albums, The Stone People and Mad Rush, on Saturday at The Mill & Mine. Virtuosic guitarist and composer Gyan Riley, well-known to Big Ears fans for his work with his legendary father Terry Riley, will return to the festival for an intimate solo performance, in addition to his performance with Maya Beiser Trios. The four-day weekend is packed with a kaleidoscope of concerts featuring some of the world’s greatest artists, and these are just three of over 100 events to explore during your curated festival experience in downtown Knoxville.
A surrealist poet, talented guitarist, cult artist, and musician’s musician, Robyn Hitchcock is one of England’s most enduring contemporary singer-songwriters and live performers. Blending folk and psychedelia with a wry British nihilism, Hitchcock describes his songs as “paintings you can listen to.” With lyrics hailed by Rolling Stone as “some of the most bracing, rainbow-hued pop this side of Revolver,” Hitchcock’s emotional live performance at Big Ears is sure to resonate with concertgoers long after the festival weekend comes to a close.
Composer, guitarist, and Wandelweiser collective member Michael Pisaro makes music of otherworldly beauty, blending hypnotic sounds of nature with surprisingly palatable pop influences. Known for exploring the idea of silence and how to embed it into his compositions, Pisaro has gained an international following. Pisaro’s live performance of his exhilarating 2013 record Tombstones was included in The New Yorker’s Notable Performances and Recordings of 2016, and his performance at Big Ears is sure to be nothing short of captivating.
St. John’s Episcopal Church Evensong Sings Arvo Pärt and More
We’re thrilled to add two extraordinary concerts by UT Electroacoustic Ensemble and St. John’s Episcopal Church Evensong. Led by composer and founder Dr. Jorge Variego, the UT Electroacoustic Ensemble will present a show of chamber improvised music with electronic media at Big Ears. Next, we are delighted to present St. John’s Episcopal Church Evensong for an opportunity to contemplate eternal truths in an environment of stillness and serenity. Choral evensong grew out of the monastic tradition of chanting psalms, opening a window into the eternal through the lens of music, and the evensong presented here will feature the music of Estonian-born composer Arvo Pärt. Pärt’s contributions to the English choral repertoire are significant, evinced by his works commissioned by King’s College, Cambridge, the Hilliard Ensemble, and Louth Contemporary Music Society, Dublin. Both concerts are certainly not to be missed.