Fast Forward Austin 3

New music marathon blows the roof off Scottish Rite today

The directors of Fast Forward Austin: Ian Dicke, Steven Snowden, and Robert Honstein
The directors of Fast Forward Austin: Ian Dicke, Steven Snowden, and Robert Honstein (Courtesy of Elisa Ferrari)

Nestled among the many festivals that mushroom across town every spring is one that's kinda easy to miss. It's just in its third year and unlike its more established brethren that span a weekend, it's just a day. But make no mistake, Fast Forward Austin packs tons of mind-blowing sound into eight hours – indeed, it rockets you into the future of music.

Fast Forward Austin co-founders Ian Dicke, Steven Snowden, and Robert Honstein – all composers who crossed paths in UT's Butler School of Music – felt there needed to be a space for musicmakers whose work doesn't fit comfortably in the prescribed categories of iTunes or FM radio: the avant-garde percussionists and composers experimenting with electronics who weren't likely to booked into South by Southwest, ACL, or Fun Fun Fun. So they conceived of this eight-hour marathon, which was largely funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign – they reached their goal in four days – and secured space at Space 12 on East 12th. More than 150 people showed up to to hear line upon line percussion, the Austin New Music Co-op, the Aeolus String Quartet,the Bel Cuore Sax Quartet, student musicians from Anthropos Arts, and more playing everything from a minimalist masterpiece by Steve Reich to world premieres by Dan Visconti and Arnold Dreyblatt. Even more people showed up at the ND the following year, which included 30 students from the Austin Soundwaves program premiering a new Graham Reynolds score to an old Felix the Cat cartoon.

For the third go-round – Saturday, April 6, 4pm-midnight – Fast Forward Austin has relocated to the Scottish Rite Theatre, 207 W. 18th, and pulled in some notable groups from outside the Austin area: the San Francisco bass clarinet duo Sqwonk; SF-based The Living Earth Show, featuring guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andrew Meyerson; and the nationally acclaimed Meehan/Perkins Duo, consisting of percussionists Doug Perkins and Todd Meehan, both former members of So Percussion, who will premiere a new composition by Tristan Perich, who mixes live sound with 1-bit computer music. The Austin contingent this year includes pop experimentalists the Weird Weeds, multidisciplinary vocal ensemble Convergence, more than 50 students from the Austin Soundwaves program premiering a new composition commissioned from Austin composer Hector Camacho, and the UT Percussion Group leading the Austin premiere of Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians,” an hour-long work for instrumentalists and singers.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Austin Soundwaves, which provides free musical instruction to Eastside youths. The schedule for the day is as follows:

4pm – Living Earth Show 5pm – The Weird Weeds 6pm – Austin Soundwaves 7pm – Convergence 8pm – François Minaux + Ryan Cronk 9pm – Meehan/Perkins Duo + Tristan Perich 10pm – Sqwonk 11pm – Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians"

For more information, visit

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Fast Forward Austin, Austin classical music, Ian Dicke, Steven Snowden, Robert Honstein, Graham Reynolds, Austin Soundwaves, Convergence, UT Percussion Group

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