AD HOC #4: Fred Frith

As a songwriter, composer, improviser, and multi-instrumentalist best known for the reinvention of the electric guitar, “Frith makes music that must count amongst the most powerful and original of the present time” Liberation (France)

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Fred Frith is a songwriter, composer, improviser, and multi-instrumentalist best known for the reinvention of the electric guitar that began with Guitar Solos in 1974.

He learned his craft as both improviser and composer playing in rock bands, notably Henry Cow, and creating music in the recording studio. Much of his compositional output has been commissioned by choreographers and filmmakers, but his work has also been performed by Ensemble Modern, Hieronymus Firebrain, Arditti Quartet, Robert Wyatt, Bang on a Can, All Stars, Concerto Köln, and Rova Sax Quartet, among quite a few others.

Fred enthusiastically records and performs all over the place with icons of contemporary music, younger players you may never have heard of, and everyone in between. He is currently leading the Gravity Band, Eye to Ear (his film music group), and Cosa Brava, whose second CD—The Letter—was released to critical acclaim in 2012.

Fred teaches at Mills College in Oakland California and at the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland. He is the subject of Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel’s award-winning documentary film Step Across the Border.