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For the second year, Rosalind Hackett, Distinguished Professor in the Humanities in UT’s Department of Religious Studies, will facilitate sessions at Big Ears Festival.

Founded by UT alumnus Ashley Capps in 2009, the festival annually brings musicians from around the world to Knoxville for a weekend of performances in local theaters, churches, museums, and outdoor spaces.

This year, Hackett facilitates two one-hour sessions as part of the Symposium of Sound, where musicians discuss themes in an intimate space with audience members. The sessions are Sound and Spatiality (Friday, March 22, 1:30–2:30 p.m.) and Sound and the Environment (Sunday, March 24, 12:30–1:30 p.m.). Artists involved in the sessions include Carla Kihlstedt, Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir, and Nate Wooley. Both sessions will take place at Visit Knoxville on 301 South Gay Street and are open to the public.

Hackett will co-facilitate another listening event at the festival, Sound and Silence, with banjo player and singer Abigail Washburn from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 23, at the Emporium Center.

Some School of Music faculty members are performing at Big Ears: 

  • Wednesday, March 20: Greg Tardy, associate professor of saxophone, will perform with Bill Frisell at 7:30 p.m. in a surprise show the night before the festival. The performance will take place at East Tennessee PBS Studios. Tardy and Frisell recorded an album together last August that will be released soon through Newvelle Records. This is the first live performance of the music recorded for that album.
  • Friday, March 22: Andrew Bliss, director of percussion studies, plays in the band Nief-Norf, which will perform with ambient songwriter Harold Budd at Church Street United Methodist Church from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Throughout the festival, the UT Downtown Gallery will host extended hours. It will show several films on a rotating schedule: Star (Wednesday, March 20, and Saturday, March 23); I Hope I’m Loud When I’m Dead and three short films by Beatrice Gibson (Thursday, March 21); Dead Souls (Friday, March 22); and  The Grand Bizarre and Hoarders without Borders (Sunday, March 24).


Brian Canever (865-974-0937,