Frontiers: Extraordinary Music from Downtown New York and Birmingham

22 March-5 April & 2-8 June 2014

We curated and produced this major festival celebrating the sounds and cultures of downtown New York and Birmingham.

In the forthcoming June period, epic events include: Rhys Chatham‘s A Secret Rose for 100 Guitars; David Lang‘s Crowd Out for 1000 Voices; legendary drummer and percussionist Warren Smith (aka WIS) with Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Pat Thomas, Dom Lash & Alex Ward; the complete works of Thelonius Monk; and the brilliant Swedish guitar quartet Krock with a programme of new work.

Read and see here for a New Music Box blog on A Secret Rose

Find out more about Crowd Out on the BCMG page here.

The spring period of the festival featured artists including: Pauline OliverosElliott Sharp, Carl Stone, Object Collection, Henry Hills, Decibel, Apartment House, Elysian Quartet and Reinier van Houdt. The programme included a special feature on the work of Robert Ashley, one of the pioneers of American music who sadly passed away on 3 March; and the largest exhibition to date on graphic scores and visual music.

Presented by Birmingham Conservatoire and Third Ear, Frontiers Festival looks to the collaborative and do-it-your-own-way traditions of New York and the sounds, ideas and iconic moments from that city which have fuelled music culture. Birmingham’s own vibrant music scene, with its strong young voices and bold new work, adds to the programme.

Broadcasts from the Frontiers Festival are on Radio 3’s Hear and Now and Jazz on 3.

Pictures by Chris Webb from the first part of the festival:

Howard Skempton & Michael Wolters perform John Cage Variations 1 & 4

Andy Ingamells & Maya Verlaak perform ‘Piano Recital’

Thallein & Surge perform In C in the Library of Birmingham

Deep Listening with Pauline Oliveros

SCORE – co-curated by Joe Scarffe & Beth Derbyshire – installed in the Library of Birmingham

Sarah Farmer’s stunning response to Laurie Anderson’s ‘As:If’

Blissing out to Carl Stone’s ‘Fujiken’ at the Ikon Gallery

Object Collection’s remarkable production of Robert Ashley’s ‘Automatic Writing’

Frontiers is a year-round platform including an annual festival for contemporary and experimental music and arts led by Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University. Since 2008, the festival has featured some of the world’s most celebrated composers, including Pierre Boulez, Louis Andriessen, and Heiner Goebbels. The 2014 festival is the most ambitious and wide-ranging to date, with partners including the Library of Birmingham; Town Hall Symphony Hall; Ikon Gallery; BCMG; Flatpack Film Festival; Hotel LaTour; Yorks Bakery Café; BBC Radio 3; UK Guitar Shows; Laney Amps; Rotosound; and Chiltern Rail.

Frontiers is curated by Ed McKeon (Third Ear Music), developed by Birmingham Conservatoire and Birmingham City University, and supported by Arts Council England.