Big Ears Festival

The contemporary music ensemble, So Percussion, is used to thinking creatively, but even for them, this COVID-19 world is uncharted territory. How does a performance group keep making music for people? How do they stay involved with their community? How do they carry out their mission statement, which is to unite people and create social bonds through music? How do they stay afloat financially? These are questions that all arts organizations are asking right now.

Clara Prinston had the opportunity to speak with Nathalie Joachim and Doyle Armbrust of the Spektral Quartet to discuss their recent collaboration. Although they were scheduled to perform at this year's canceled Big Ears Festival, we have to decided share this and several Big Ears interviews.  Enjoy!


Petra Haden talks with Todd Steed about her upcoming visit to Knoxville and her latest project with her sisters, The Family Songbook.

Aaron Greenwald discusses his new job as Managing Director of Big Ears Festival.  

Big Ears Festival fans, rejoice! The 2020 initial lineup has been revealed! As in years past, additional artists are sure to be added to the roster along the way, but already, the list of musicians and composers is staggering. Ashley Capps says there are no "headline acts" per se, but there are numerous standouts. Two birthdays will be celebrated: the 75th birthday of Anthony Braxton and the 85th birthday of Terry Riley. Kronos Quartet will return to Big Ears to help with Riley's celebration, while Braxton will present the world premiere of the Thunder Music Ensemble.

OneBeat is a cultural exchange initiative of the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and produced by Found Sound Nation, which is a sector of the Bang on a Can organization. Bang on a Can focuses on commissioning, promoting and performing music by living composers and WUOT listeners may be familiar with them through their participation in the Big Ears Festival.

Harold Budd on Big Ears

Apr 5, 2019
Todd Steed / Mr.

Composer Harold Budd sat down with Todd Steed at the Big Ears Festival and reflected on his latest works, Knoxville, Stan Getz, ACME, and the lack of choice dining options in Joshua Tree. 

The interview was conducted in the lobby of his hotel.  Please free free to enjoy the extra ambience. 

Nate Chinen talks with Todd Steed about his new book, Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century and reflects on his experience at the Big Ears Festival. 


Cellist Clarice Jensen didn't grow up listening to or playing contemporary Classical music, but when she moved to New York to attend Juilliard, her teachers and the city exposed her to a brand new world of music. She soon became interested in creating new music and not so much in recreating old music.

Bill Frisell and Gregory Tardy sat down with Todd Steed after their recent performance for Live at Lucille's.  They discuss their upcoming duo record and their unique musical history.