Ear Taxi Festival, one of the largest urban celebrations of new and experimental music, runs September 15 to October 4 in venues across Chicago.
Presented by New Music Chicago, Ear Taxi Festival celebrates new, contemporary classical, experimental, creative, electronic, and other types of music and “sound-practice” composed by, improvised by, and performed in Chicago by Chicagoans.
Organizers say this year’s theme is “HEAR CHICAGO” a call to engage with the multiple styles and traditions that constitute Chicago’s expansive musical identity, with a focus on musicians of color as a significant part of the city’s complex history.
Included this year are free professional development workshops open to all taking place September 29.
“Ear Taxi Festival promises to be a world-class celebration of Chicago’s brilliant new music community,” says Executive and Artistic Director Jennie Oh Brown. “Nearly 600 artists, including performers, composers, sound experimentalists, speakers, writers, and more, will come together in approximately 100 city-wide events in some of the city’s most beautiful and historic concert venues. It will also serve as a point of connection from our many distinct artistic, cultural, and geographic trajectories, where we can come together and build new collaborations, share inspiration, and experience great art.”
“What we aspire to do is engage with the communities in a way that is mutually beneficial. We want to have an honest conversation about what it means to perform music and the significance of music within these communities, the very places where the music comes from,” explains Director of Community Engagement LaRob K. Rafael. “And we don’t want to come into a community and assume that we’re bringing something that they need; we are actually going into the communities to learn.”
All professional development events and Mainstage Series Concerts (with a few exceptions) will be free, open to the public, and accessible via livestream. For more details, including a full roster of artists and events, visit eartaxifestival.com.
*editors note: an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the festival is in its 5th year. The Ear Taxi Festival was last held in 2016.