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News - Thorvaldsdottir and Bang on a Can Storm Big Ears 2018

Anna Thorvaldsdottir, by Saga Sigurdardottir
Thursday, March 15, 2018
The music and footprint of Music Sales composers can be found throughout the long weekend at this year's Big Ears Festival, March 22-25 in Knoxville Tennessee. Praised as "a listening experience like no other in America," (Rolling Stone) and "a music festival with a rare vision," (The New York Times), Big Ears has become the gold standard for the musical avant-garde, an annual melting pot of experimental styles.
Anna Thorvaldsdottir
Anna Thorvaldsdottir composed In the Light of Air for the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in 2014, and the supergroup has since performed the piece widely and often. Over the course of 40 minutes, the musicians traverse through a flowing texture of sound materials and harmonies, structured into a central tetralogy plus prologue and epilogue. The March 22 performance at Big Ears will include reactive lighting co-designed by Thorvaldsdottir and ICE, plus an installation of metallic ornaments used in the percussion part. The ornaments are called Klakabönd in Icelandic (translated as "a bind in ice"), and were created by Svana Jósepsdóttir after the composer's design. Explore the work below via performance video, a "Performance Fidelity" recording from Sono Luminus, and an interview with the composer:
Watch: Performance | Listen: Spotify | Watch: Interview | Peruse: Score

ICE will also perform Thorvaldsdottir's Hvolf, a haunting 2009 work for voice and piano, on March 23rd.
Watch: Performance | Peruse: Score

Bang on a Can
Bang On A Can All-Stars will be in Knoxville all weekend, celebrating three decades of Bang on a Can and its visionary founding composers: Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, Composers-in-Residence at this year's Big Ears. March 23rd marks a performance of Field Recordings after the All-Stars eponymous record from 2015, which compiles found-sound compositions from the Bang on a Can trifecta plus Bryce Dessner, Christian Marclay, and others. The afternoon of March 24th will offer Anthracite Fields, Wolfe's coal mining oratorio which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2015, and the festivities culminate in a the US premiere of Gordon's Big Space on March 25th, programmed with classics by Lang, Wolfe, and Philip Glass.
Field Recordings - Listen: Spotify
Anthracite Fields - Listen: Spotify | Peruse: Score

Matthew Aucoin
Amidst free jazz, electronica, bluegrass, and everything in between, Matthew Aucoin's newly-minted American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) will present the powerful bass-baritone Davóne Tines with strings of the Knoxville Symphony. Tines' program combines hymns, spirituals, songs, and audience participation, and also includes Aucoin's A Clear Midnight (from Three Whitman Songs), a precursor to his acclaimed opera Crossing, which imagines Walt Whitman's time as a volunteer medic during the Civil War.
Crossing - Read, watch, and listen to more:
If you would like to connect during Big Ears, or are interested in further information on any of these projects, please contact Andrew Stein-Zeller.

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