The Big Ears Festival is turning 10 years old in March — but it’s using the opportunity to celebrate a more senior institution.
The annual experimental-music festival announced on Monday that it will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the trailblazing label ECM Records with 20 separate performances across its four days.
This is set to be the largest single convocation of ECM-related artists in the United States. Like the rest of Big Ears, these shows will take place March 21-24 at a variety of venues throughout downtown Knoxville, Tenn.
Since 1969, ECM has been devoted to publishing music at the crossroads of contemporary Western classical, jazz and experimental music. This puts it roughly in line with the programmatic mission of Big Ears. ECM’s founder and director, Manfred Eicher, will be on hand at the festival, although he has not yet announced plans to participate in any official events.
ECM-affiliated performers at the festival will include the drummer Jack DeJohnette; the violist Kim Kashkashian; the pianists Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn, performing in duet; and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, a group that has lived at the cusp of experimental improvised music since before ECM was founded.