Nief-Norf Needs “Curious Sound Makers” for Saturday Big Ears Concert

In The Daily Dumpster Blog by Matthew Everettleave a COMMENT

If you’re still angling for a way to get into Big Ears this weekend without buying a pass, here’s a chance: You can join Andy Bliss and the Knoxville-based percussion ensemble Nief-Norf for a Saturday evening performance at the Knoxville Museum of Art.

Nief-Norf’s third concert, out of a total of four during this year’s Big Ears, will be a performance of American composer Michael Pisaro’s A wave and waves, an immersive 70-plus minute piece for 100 musicians that’s been described as “an ocean of sound.” The musicians set up in a grid, interspersed among the audience, and perform with traditional and nontraditional percussion instruments—drums, chimes, and bells, but also guitar strings, dried beans, metal plates, and large sheets of thick paper. (The effect is similar to that of John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit, which Bliss staged at Ijams Nature Center last year on the last day of the festival.)

Here’s a clip of Speak Ensemble, from Australia, performing A wave and waves in 2015.

Bliss is still recruiting players for his 100-person percussion orchestra. The group will rehearse on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. The concert is Saturday at 6:30 p.m. No particular experience is required; Bliss is looking for “curious, responsible sound makers.”

Participants get a free one-day Big Ears pass and dinner during the Saturday rehearsal. If you’re interested, fill out this Google form.




Matthew Everett
Senior Editor

Senior Editor Matthew Everett manages the Knoxville Mercury's arts & entertainment section, including the comprehensive calendar section—Knoxville’s go-to guide for everything worth doing in the area. You can reach Matthew at

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