The 74-year-old Riley will be the official artist in residence at the festival, scheduled for Friday, March 26-Sunday, March 28. The weekend is a celebration of Riley's 75th birthday, which is in June. Riley will perform several concerts over the weekend with other musicians, including a performance of his 1964 masterpiece In C. The Calder String Quartet, a Los Angeles group that has worked with Riley since 2006, will also present a program of his work.
In C is generally regarded as one of the foundational pieces of minimalism, the mid-20th-century style of composition based on repetition and drone that's associated with Riley, La Monte Young, Steve Reich, and Phillip Glass.
The first Big Ears last February featured Glass and his partner, the cellist Wendy Sutter, as well as a range of artists from around the world, with notable appearances by experimental composer Pauline Oliveros, Australian jazz trio the Necks, saxophonist Ned Rothenburg, Baltimore dance-rock guru Dan Deacon, and New York cabaret-pop singer Antony Hagerty. The festival, held at the Bijou and Tennessee theaters, the Knoxville Museum of Art, Pilot Light, and the Woodruff Building on Gay Street, drew press coverage from The New York Times, Pitchfork, Atlanta's Creative Loafing, and the Baltimore City Paper.
"It's a tremendous honor to have Terry Riley participate in our festival this year," says AC Entertainment's Ashley Capps in a press release. "It's a dream come true."
The full lineup will be announced in early December. Tickets will also be available then.