Australian Art Orchestra

The AAO was founded by Paul Grabowsky, in 1994. It is Australia’s most prominent contemporary ensemble. Now led by daring composer/trumpeter/sound artist Peter Knight, its work constantly seeks to stretch genres and break down the barriers separating disciplines, forms and cultures. It seeks to explore the intersections between avant-garde music and popular music, electronic and acoustic music, and creates music that crosses the continuum of improvised and recorded forms. The Australian Art Orchestra is named after the influential Art Ensemble of Chicago. It builds on ideas that date back to the dawn of jazz. These ideas drew upon an amazing collision of cultures, ways to think, and folk traditions, which are so ancient that they are difficult to trace. Although the AAO’s music is not American jazz, it has the same energy as jazz in the 20th century. It also features the traditional songmen of Ngukurr (Crossing Roper Bar), Guru Kaaraikkudi R. Mani (Two Oceans), and Nicole Lizee (Exit Ceremonies), along with a wide range of Australian artists. This is Australian “jazz” in 2018. The Australian Art Orchestra has received many nominations, awards and praises for their work. Peter Knight’s Diomira composition won the 2016 Albert H Maggs composition award and was nominated to the APRA/AMCOS Music Awards ‘Work of the year’. Erik Griswold’s Sichuan-inspired, Water Pushes Sand was nominated as the Jazz Album of the year for the 2017 ARIA. The group won three Australian Jazz Bell Awards, most recently in 2014. They also received the 2013 AMC/APRA Art Music Award ’Excellence by an Organisation’, the 2013 AMC/APRA Art Music Award Performance of the year’, a 2010 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards – Group Award, the H C Coombs Cultural Arts Fellowship (2010), a Helpmann Award (2004) and a 2009 Classical Music Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution To Australian Music in a Region’ Recent highlights include the 2018 London Jazz Festival and 2018 Jazztopad Wroclaw in Poland.

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