The idea behind the Big Ears Festival is to present some of the most creative and important artists working in music - critically acclaimed, but not necessarily well known. While the idea of avant-garde or experimental music is sometimes associated with abrasive and dissonant sounds, much of the music presented at the festival is actually meditative and unapologetically pretty.
It might be a good idea to do a little Internet listening to find out which artists might suit your tastes. But you might also want to simply challenge your expectations. All-access tickets for the festival are $195, limited-admission passes (all shows excluding Philip Glass, Antony and the Johnsons and the festival finale) are $100, and individual ticket prices are listed below where available.
Bijou Theatre: Fennesz, 8 p.m., $25; Jon Hassell & Maarifa Street, 10:30 p.m., $25
Knoxville Museum of Art: Matmos, Luminescent Orchestrii and Sxip Shirey's Sonic New York; 5 p.m., $10
Square Room, 4 Market Square: David Daniel, 9 p.m.; Burning Star Core, 10:30 p.m., $10
Pilot Light, 106 E. Jackson Ave: Shaking Ray Levis, 9:30 p.m.; Neil Hamburger, 11 p.m.
Woodruff Building, 5th floor, 424 S. Gay St.: Mooglab listening and experimentation labs for Moog synthesizers and theremins presented by Bob Moog Foundation, ongoing, free.
The Catalyst, 125 E. Jackson Ave.: Hello City (micro sets from Knoxville artists), midnight, $5
Tennessee Theatre: Films "Powaqqatsi" and "Naqoyqatsi," 8 p.m., free
Bijou Theatre: Philip Glass with Wendy Sutter, 3 p.m. $50; Antony and the Johnsons, 8 p.m., $35; The Necks, 11 p.m., $20
Woodruff Building, 5th floor: Pauline Oliveros "Deep Listening Workshop," 1 p.m.; Hardware hacking workshop with Nicholas Collins, 2:30 p.m.; Philip Glass question and answer session, 5 p.m.
Square Room: Ned Rothenberg solo, 2 p.m.; San Agustin, 5:30 p.m.; Christian Fennesz, David Daniel and Tony Buck, 6:30 p.m., $10; Matmos, 10 p.m., $20
Pilot Light: Fence Kitchen, $10 p.m.; Luminescent Orchestrii and Sxip Shirey's Sonic New York, midnight
Catalyst: Dan Deacon & Baltimore City Round Robin, midnight, $15
Tennessee Theatre: Films "Powaqqatsi" and "Naqoyqatsi," noon and 8 p.m., free
Bijou Theatre: Negativland, 2:30 p.m. $25; Festival Finale: Michael Gira & Fennesz/Linkous/Minor and Larkin Grimm, 7 p.m., $30
Knoxville Museum of Art: Pauline Oliveros, 1 p.m., $20; Ned Rothenberg collaborating with Chris Abrahams, Tony Buck and Lloyd Swanton (members of The Necks), 6 p.m. $20
Woodruff Building, 5th floor: Shaking Ray Levis drum workshop and talk, noon
Bistro at the Bijou: Brunch with Sxip Shirley's Sonic New York
Tickets are available at the Tennessee Theatre box office, 865-684-1200