Big Ears Festival

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Big Ears Festival Biography

Hailed by composer Philip Glass as a “tremendous experience” and Pitchfork as “an inspiration,” The Big Ears Festival brings together musicians and artists who span generations and transcend genres for dozens of concerts along with installations, exhibitions, film screenings, interactive workshops, informative talks, surprise collaborations, and unexpected connections.

Named for someone who is capable of discerning and perceptive listening, who has the ability to use the ears as a creative tool or who hears things many may miss, Big Ears introduces passionate fans and receptive audiences to new and exciting concerts, performances, workshops and discussions. The goal is to entertain, excite, provoke and inspire the creative spirit in all who attend.

Big Ears debuted in 2009 in Knoxville, Tennessee with a line up that included Philip Glass & Wendy Sutter, Antony & the Johnsons, Jon Hassell, the Necks, Fennesz, and Pauline Oliveros. In 2010, the Festival featured Artist-in-Residence Terry Riley and guest curator Bryce Dessner of The National, with Joanna Newsom, The xx, Nico Muhly, My Brightest Diamond, the Calder String Quartet, Bang on a Can, Tim Hecker, and the Dirty Projectors, among others. In 2014, the Festival hosted Artist-in-Residence Steve Reich along with Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, Television, John Cale, Tim Hecker, and many more.

Big Ears is proud to be making its return in 2015 for another weekend of visionary music, exploratory art, and southern hospitality March 27, 28 and 29 in historic downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.

The legendary Kronos Quartet – considered the most celebrated new music ensemble in the world – will serve as Artists-in-Residence for the 2015 event, taking place March 27-29 in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.

Commended by The New Yorker music critic Alex Ross as an “all-terrain vehicle in contemporary culture,” the Grammy-winning Kronos Quartet—David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello)— have combined rich musical experience with fearless exploration while continually reimagining the role and experience of the classical string quartet. From early music to cutting edge contemporary compositions and collaborations, from world folk music to daring interpretations of rock classics, Kronos has worked with an extraordinarily diverse range of renowned musical artists, including Steve Reich, Philip Glass, David Bowie, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Tom Waits, Astor Piazolla, Wu Man, Trent Reznor, the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Café Tacuba.

At the 2015 Big Ears Festival, Kronos Quartet will weave an array of performances through the festival weekend, presenting classic contemporary works and a multi-faceted array of musical collaborations with other festival artists.

Big Ears is created and produced by AC Entertainment, recognized as one of the foremost independent promoters in the United States. Founded in 1991 by Ashley Capps, the company books, markets and presents over 1,000 events per year. In addition to Big Ears, AC Entertainment is the force behind internationally renowned events including Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival® and The Forecastle Festival. For more information on AC Entertainment, visit


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