28–30 June 2019

Photo by Andy Newcombe

Fred Frith – Three-Day Seventieth Birthday Residency

One of the most inventive and eclectic figures in contemporary music, guitarist and composer Fred Frith celebrates his 70th year with a three day residency at OTO – his first since 2015 – with a fantastic array of collaborators old and new. With the aim of performing with as many people as possible this year, Frith has curated a line-up of "extraordinary and extraordinarily intense players", including a rare trio show with David Toop and Steve Beresford; the three having known each other for decades but this being only their second show together in the past thirty years!

“Few contemporary musicians have explored as many different – and frequently overlapping – genres as Fred Frith: traditional folk, indie rock, free improv, chamber composition, po-mo retro, graphic scores, and several…that may not have a name yet.” – Art Lange, Point of Departure

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Fred Frith

Frith's work has ranged from ground-breaking avant-garde rock with Henry Cow and Art Bears to extended compositions for choirs, orchestras and saxophone quartets and collaborations with figures such as Mike Patton, John Zorn, Brian Eno, Ikue Mori and Derek Bailey. His highly individual approach to the guitar and use of extended and unorthodox techniques give his music a unique and at times disorienting sense of texture and space. 

Frith's musicial journey started when he formed Henry Cow with Tim Hodgkinson in 1968, a legendary group that expanded the parameters of rock music to include complex compositional forms as well as improvised elements. 

After moving to New York in 1979, Frith was a key figure in the downtown experimental music scene, his collaborations with Zorn, Laswell, Mori and others helping form an important new musical vernacular in which elements of rock, contempary composition, noise and improvisation overlapped and intertwined. 

Since 1999 Frith has been Professor of Composition at Mills University, California. Recent projects have included duos with Anthony Braxton and Evelyn Glennie, collaborations with the Arte Quartett and choreographer Donna Uchizono, and numerous festival appearances in Europe and America. 

“A masterful sound colorist, Frith is in no way subject to analyses of has artistic legitimacy - (he) redefines the possible uses of the guitar and makes traditional discourse irrelevant” – L.A. Herald Examiner (USA)