Entering an exciting phase of new works, Australia’s pre-eminent contemporary music ensemble, the Australian Art Orchestra (AAO) will premiere six new commissions in November across Australia, England and Poland.

AAO Artistic Director, Peter Knight says the Orchestra is experiencing incredible momentum at present. “2018 has marked one of the most vibrant and successful periods in our 25-year history – it includes collaborations with artists from all over the world and invitations to play at two of the most significant contemporary jazz festivals in the world: London Jazz Festival and Jazztopad Festival in Poland.”

The first to premiere is at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, where the AAO will perform the world premiere of Sometimes Home Can Grow Stranger than Space. Consisting of three original compositions by Peter Knight, Tilman Robinson and Andrea Keller, it will be performed by a nine-piece ensemble with some of the most celebrated musicians in Australia.

The piece is particularly significant to Australians, as it was inspired by the Centenary of Armistice Day and is a piece that creates an intimate and moving musical response which acknowledges the stories of returned service people as they integrate back into their communities back in Australia.

Of similar inspiration, a second commissioned piece, Aftermath, will be presented on the Centenary of Armistice Day on the 11 November commencing at 6.04am until 10.59am (prior to the moment of silence) at MPavilion, in the Queen Victoria Gardens. This work is a durational sonic meditation and sound performance installation co-curated by the newly appointed AAO Associate Artist, Aviva Endean and Peter Knight in collaboration with Tilman Robinson.

Creating an alternative space for the contemplation of war to reflect about grief, loss and the ongoing effects of trauma caused by war, violence and conflict, Aftermath will use the text from World War One: A history in 100 stories abstracted through an orchestra of ‘remembering machines’ that include tape players, old turntables, Revox reel-to-reel and live music performance.

The AAO will also tour Europe – stopping first at the London Jazz Festival to present Sometimes Home Can Grow Stranger than Space as part of a festival program that will also feature other signature artists like Bobby McFerrin, Bill Frisell and Dave Douglas.

See the full list of AAO events:

  • 2 Nov: Sometimes Home Can Grow Stranger than Space, Wangaratta Fest. of Jazz & Blues

  • 11 Nov: Aftermath, at MPavilion at Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne

  • 18 Nov: Sometimes Home Can Grow Stranger than Space, London Jazz Festival – Southbank Centre)

  • 21 Nov: The Plains and Hurry Slowly 2, Jazztopad, Poland

  • 24 – 25 Nov: Solo Chamber Concerts, Jazztopad, Poland

  • 26 – 28 Nov: Guests of the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Norway

  • 29 Nov – 3 Dec: Aviva Endean & Peter Knight as artists at GIOfest (Scotland) and Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra

  • 6 Dec: Peter Knight is soloist with acclaimed London ensemble Club Inégales

The European tour will premiere two new AAO works, The Plains by Peter Knight and Hurry Slowly 2 by Andrea Keller in Poland. Inspired by iconic Australian author Gerald Murnane’s vision of the interior of Australia, Knight’s The Plains creates a series of musical mirages that form on an endless sonic horizon reflecting and re-imagining the wide-open spaces of the Australian landscape.

Jacques Emery, Lizzy Welsh, Aviva Endean (Credit: Pier Carthew)

Keller’s Hurry Slowly 2 exists at the meeting point between acoustic and electronic approaches – it draws together influences from jazz, contemporary classical and minimalism to create a sound that is at once evocative, sensual and challenging.

Find out all about the Australian Art Orchestra and its works on their website here!


Dates: 2 Nov and 11 Nov

Location: Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues (2 Nov), MPavilion at Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne (11 Nov)

Times: Multiple times – see website for full details

Australian Art Orchestra Website