Fred Frith - composer, improviser, multi-instrumentalist - has, for more than 25 years now, operated somewhere neat the centre of the grey area where rock music and new music meet. Co-founder of the British underground band Henry Cow (1968-78) he moved to New York in the late seventies and came into contact with many of the musicians with whom he’s since been associated, including, for example, John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Tom Cora, Zeena Parkins and Bob Ostertag.
Twelve years in New York gave rise to groups like Massacre (with Bill Laswell and Fred Maher), Skeleton Crew (with Cora and Parkins), and Keep the Dog, a sextet performing an extensive repertoire of Frith’s compositions.
In the eighties he began to write for dance, film and theatre, and this in return led to his composing for Rova Sax Quartet, Ensemble Modern, Asko Ensemble and a number of other groups, including his own critically acclaimed Guitar Quartet. Best known wolrd-wide as an improvising guitarist, he has also performed in a variety of other contexts, playing bass in John Zorn’n Naked City, violin in Lars Hollmer’s Looping Home Orchestra, and guitar on recordings ranging from The Residents and Rene Lussier to Lindsay Cooper and Amy Denio. Fred is the subject of Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel’s award-winning documentary film Step Across the Border. He is currently Professor of Composition at Mills College in California.