KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Since its 2009 debut, Big Ears Festival has hosted many leading composers and performers. This year’s line-up is no exception.

This year’s festival will expand to four days and new venues, including two downtown churches. The festival is March 23-26, 2017 and includes 100 performances from over 60 music creators. General Admission Weekend Passes start at $165 and include access to all Big Ears performances and venues across all four days of the event.

Several of the most highly regarded and influential artists of the past half-century will perform include jazz pianist and composer Carla Bley, British composer Gavin Bryars who is performing for the first time with his own ensemble in the United States, the great jazz bassist Henry Grimes with his quartet, eccentric American folksinger Michael Hurley, “magician of the voice” Meredith Monk with her ensemble, Alvin Curran, Frederic Rzewski, and Richard Teitelbaum, performing together in their almost mythic improvisational group Musica Elettronica Vivaand composer Henry Threadgill, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music) with his band, Zooid. Wilco will hold down the alternative-rock foundation, while Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields will perform Merritt’s new 50 Song Memoir over two evenings.

Two other special projects will showcase the work of two late composers, whose influence on contemporary music continues to grow. Matmos will perform their staging of three key sections of the late Robert Ashley’s “opera for television” Perfect Lives for the first time in the United States and producer Jace Clayton will present his engaging Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner, celebrating the troubled and neglected African-American composer Julius Eastman, whose legacy grows stronger than ever a quarter of a century after his tragic death.

Norway’s improvisational supergroup Supersilent will give their first US concert since 2004, with master trumpeter and vocalist Arve Henriksen and keyboardist Ståle Storløkken performing separate concerts. Helge Sten will also deliver a rare Deathprod performance. In addition, Norwegian hardanger fiddle master Nils Økland will give his first concert ever in the United States, performing with his band as well as in a more intimate setting. Also from Norway, the accordion virtuoso Frode Haltli will present his powerful piece The Border Woods, weaving traditional Scandinavian folk traditions with Middle Eastern influences.

During the weekend, the festival will also host a series of special programs and collaborations, film showings, workshops, panels and discussions with the artists, interactive exhibitions and projects. This year the festival will feature “Virtual Views” a collection of contemporary art featuring artists who are pioneers in the use of LEDS, LCD and computer-driven imagery. Organized by the Knoxville Museum of Art in conjunction with the festival, Virtual Views features a variety of electronic works showcasing the paradox between synthetic materials and nature. The featured artists include Jim Campbell, Craig Dorety, John Gerrard, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Alan Rath, Daniel Rozin, Björn Schülke, Jennifer Steinkamp, and Leo Villareal.Previous story: Big Ears brings world class musicians and film makers to Knoxville

The festival will also continue their partnership with Public Cinema, known for their dedication to screening contemporary international and American cinema for Knoxville audiences. Rock Fish Stew will also return to Big Ears as part of their ongoing collaboration and documentation of the festival through their Big Ears Film.

Full line-up