Downtown NY Music Frontiers Festival Podcasts

The “Frontiers Festival” took place in Birmingham UK in 2014 – and was a major festival which showcased the sounds and culture of Downtown New York with a series of challenging, innovative live performances. “Downtown” is not only a district in Manhattan (roughly between 20th and Soho), but it’s also shorthand for the non-conformist spirit that exploded comfortable notions of art and commercial music in the early to mid-Seventies.

I created a series of podcasts, which profiled the musicians and composers who worked in New York during this vibrant period. They celebrate the artists who created memorable alternative art “sound” movements, such as; Minimalism, Drone, Pop Art, Fluxus, Post-Punk, and No Wave.

The podcasts were created in collaboration between the Birmingham Conservatoire, The Birmingham School of Media and Festival organisers Third Ear. They were designed to introduce listeners to the composers featured in the Festival – giving added context to their work. Ed McKeon, the curator and producer of the Frontiers Festival, presented the podcasts – which used on-location interviews to transport the listener to New York, Paris and Birmingham – with revealing first person accounts of New York in the early seventies.

Influential composers shared their memories – and key musical works and live performances were threaded throughout the podcasts – adding context and giving listeners a “taste” of what they could expect to hear at the Festival.

The New York content of these podcasts were created with assistance from broadcaster and author Kurt Gottschalk and producer Jeremy Young.


Rhys Chatham / Phill Niblock / James Dooley / Elliot Sharp / Alex Waterman / Travis Just / Bruce Gallanter / Tom Johnson / George Lewis