Bryce Dessner, Founder and Artistic Director of MusicNow and guitarist for the acclaimed, Cincinnati-based indie rock band, The National, will be all over the place at MusicNow. He and his brother, Aaron Dessner, multi-instrumentalist and principal songwriter for The National, will perform as Red Bird Hollow during the festival’s Opening Celebration at the Cincinnati Masonic Lodge (317 E. 5th St.) on April 27. The opening celebration will also feature several other artists such as Lisa Hannigan, Spank Rock and Sam Amidon. Bryce will perform with The National on the West Stage at Smale Riverfront Park on April 28 from 9-11 p.m. Aaron and Bryce will also give a quick concert on the East Stage at Smale Riverfront Park on April 28 from 1-1:45 p.m. The National will play a second show, where they will perform their seminal album, “Boxer,” in its entirety, on the West Stage at Smale Riverfront Park on April 29 from 9-11 p.m. Finally, Bryce will join country punk rocker, Bonnie “Prince” Billy (a.k.a. Will Oldham) and Eighth Blackbird, a contemporary sextet comprised of flute, clarinet, drums, violin, cello and piano, to perform the works of Julius Eastman, Frederic Rzewski, and those of Billy and Dessner themselves at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (50 E. Freedom Way) on April 29 from 2-3:30 p.m.
Bryce Dessner, founder of MusicNow, will be performing at several times and venues both with The National and with his brother, Aaron Dessner. CONTRIBUTED
3. RAGNAR KJARTANSSON
This contemporary Icelandic artist uses video, drawings, paintings and live performance in his work. Two of Kjartansson’s video installations are currently on display in the Schiff Gallery at the Cincinnati Art Museum and will be available for viewing throughout the festival. In “The Visitors,” eight musicians in different rooms of a manor house sing individual refrains that eventually merge into a single song. “Scenes from Western Culture,” has single-channel videos that play on a continuous loop, like moving paintings.
A still shot from the video, “The Visitors,” by Icelandic multimedia artist, Ragnar Kjartansson. “The Visitors” and one other Kjartansson piece will be available for viewing throughout the festival at the Cincinnati Art Museum. CONTRIBUTED
4. THE CINCINNATI BALLET’S “BOLD MOVES”
The Cincinnati Ballet will collaborate with acclaimed New York City dancer/choreographer, Justin Peck, to perform Bryce Dessner’s “Murder Ballades,” a set of seven instrumental ballads inspired by the American folk music tradition. There will also be world premieres by choreographer, Kate Weare (her first), and hip-hop/contemporary choreographer, Jennifer Archibald (her third). “Bold Moves” will be performed at the Aronoff Center for the Arts on April 26-29. Performance times are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20-$125.
5. CRASH ENSEMBLE
Ireland’s leading new music ensemble consists of ten instrumentalists and a conductor. They perform classical/contemporary compositions from international composers, including the Hollywood film composer, Phillip Glass. Their concerts incorporate lighting and video effects and sound amplification. At MusicNow, they will be performing “Schnee,” by the Danish composer, Hans Abrahamsen, at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on April 28 from 2-3 p.m.
WANT TO GO?
What: MusicNow Homecoming Festival
When: April 27-29; 7:30 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday, noon Sunday
Cost: $89.50 (Saturday and Sunday passes), $169.50 (weekend pass) $50 (opening night pass)