When it was announced that Cincinnati native Bryce Dessner would be one of the curators of the huge Big Ears festival in Knoxville, Tenn., at the end of March, some wondered if his annual hometown avant/Indie/Chamber MusicNOW festival would happen in 2010, considering the similarities in programming and timing. So it was good news to hear that MusicNOW is on schedule for March 30-April 1 at Memorial Hall (next to Music Hall), just after Big Ears and featuring some of the same artists.
The unique fest — now in its fifth year — kicks off March 30 with harpist/singer/songwriter Joanna Newsom (often linked to the so-called "Freak Folk" movement), who will be doing select dates in the U.S.
On March 31, the atmospheric St. Vincent will perform songs from its acclaimed sophomore album, Actor, as well as new material that, according to a press release, ventures "deeper into chamber arranging and composition." Chamber ensemble Ymusic — which has toured or recorded with artists from Jay-Z to The National to Yo Yo Ma — will also appear March 31, performing a new festival-commissioned work composed by Annie Clark of St. Vincent.
The April 1 date will feature Justin Vernon, singer/songwriter of celebrated Wisconsin Indie band Bon Iver. His festival-closing appearance is one of just a few solo shows scheduled for 2010.
More performers are expected to be announced for the fest. Check MusicNOW's Web site here for the latest updates and to purchase tickets ($20 per night; $50 for a three-night pass).