Big Ears and Ableton, a leader in electronic production and music creation software, have forged a partnership for 2024, offering educational opportunities for both students and festival attendees. Acclaimed producer Dibia$e is set to host an educational session with the Knoxville Ableton User Group and electronic visionary Suzi Analogue will lead a masterclass for students at Pellissippi State Technical Community College. Two exclusive workshops for festival-goers, led by claire rousay and Kassa Overall, promise insightful exploration into the creative realms of songwriting and production.

Simple Creativity:Approaches to Production and Performance with Claire Rousay

claire rousay takes a singular approach to writing and performing music, drawing from and manipulating recordings both from the field and from instrumentalists.

In this workshop, she will demonstrate how to create compelling music with nothing more than her phone and a DAW. She will also deconstruct the creation of “Sycamore Skylight,” a new track from her forthcoming album.

Deconstruct 1 Open 1:A Look Under the Hood at a Finished Track and a Work In Progress with Kassa Overall

Kassa Overall is beautifully unorthodox, and his approaches to music-making are informed by many past intersections – from drumming to rapping to producing, via jazz and hip hop and avant-garde. What has eventuated is a wonderfully unique fusion, and attendees of this workshop will get a rare peek into his fascinating creative process.

He will be giving a tour of one of his favorite finished productions and also sharing a behind-the-scenes look at a current work-in-progress. Be prepared to have your understanding of music-making flipped upside-down.

MacArthur Conversations

Big Ears is proud to welcome nine MacArthur Fellows to the 2024 festival. Such a confluence of ‘geniuses’ provides Big Ears with the opportunity to bring them together not only for unique performances, but for unique conversations as well. As part of our free-to-the-public series of talks and panels, Tomeka Reid and Ikue Mori, two recently minted MacArthur Fellows who have made their reputations through their dedication to excellence, exploration, and collaboration, will come together for a wide-ranging conversation moderated by Larry Blumenfeld.

Blacktronika Conversations

Afrofuturism in Electronic Music Workshop

Interact with King Britt, who has been at the forefront of the many revolutions and catalytic movements that have shaped the tenor of electronic music, and Charlie Dark MBE, a veteran of London’s multifaceted music scene, for this special workshop.

The LA Beat Scene:

Join King Britt once again as he chats with Dibia$e, whose signature sound has been recognized and sought out by some of hip hop and electronic music’s most influential artists, and Computer Jay, who aesthetically splits the difference between a mad sound scientist and groove-rich keyboardist, about the importance of the LA Beat Scene to the history of electronic music.

Spoken Word Programs

Knoxville’s current reigning Poet Laureate, Black Atticus, has curated two spoken word programs for Big Ears, weaving together diverse voices and perspectives to celebrate the power of verbal artistry and storytelling in East Tennessee and beyond. You can expect unforgettable moments of performance, lyricism, and verse.

Knoxville Poet Laureates:The Fearless Sun Cypher

R.B. Morris, Marilyn Kallet, Rhea Carmon, and Black Atticus

National Black Poet Laureate Society:In Fullness of the World

Dasha Kelly, Dsaun Ahanu, Tshaka Campbell, Black Atticus

Knoxville, TN · USA



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