Australian Art Orchestra: Diomira

Diomira // Australian Art OrchestraOne of Australia’s leading contemporary music ensembles, the Australian Art Orchestra, will give the world premiere performance of Diomira at The Substation, Newport on Saturday 7 October as part of the 2017 Melbourne Festival.

Sparked off by one of the imaginary lands in Italo Calvino’s novella Invisible Cities, Diomira is a new work created by composer and Artistic Director of Australian Art Orchestra, Peter Knight – an expedition forging a path between the observable and the unreal.

The chamber jazz orchestra expands with the additions of turntables, reel-to-reel tape machines and live signal processing, while the sounds of acoustic instruments and voices are interwoven with vinyl-cut field recordings, toying with perceptions of what is heard and what has only been imagined. Time folds into itself, leaving the residue of moments half remembered.

Exploring the spaces between the avant-garde and the traditional, art and popular music since 1994, Australian Art Orchestra is fired by the same spirit of restlessness that drove the earliest pioneers of jazz to produce music that is utterly of the now.

Premiering as a concert length piece with multi screen installation by video artist Scott Morrison (Tate Modern/MONA FOMA/Liquid Architecture/Opia Sim Gallery/64º South Heller Gallery), Morrison creates uncanny effects tracking the entropic processes woven into the structure of the music, as mechanisation disintegrates and gives way to expressive gesture.

Joining Peter Knight will be Andrea Keller (keyboard and piano); Tristram Williams (trumpet); Gian Slater (vocals); Erkki Veltheim (violin); Steve Raegele (guitar); Mary Rapp (cello); Vanessa Tomlinson (percussion); Tony Hicks (clarinet/saxophone); Adrian Sherriff (bass trombone/electronics); Samuel Pankhurst (bass); Joe Talia (drums/Revox reel-to-reel); and Nicole Lizée (turntables).

Founded by Paul Grabowsky in 1994, the AAO is one of Australia’s leading contemporary ensembles. 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.

The AAO explores the interstices between the avant-garde and the traditional, between art and popular music, between electronic and acoustic approaches, and creates music that traverses the continuum between improvised and notated forms.

“Thrilling and daunting in equal measure… the AAO’s boldness of vision remains intact as it heads into its third decade.” – The Age

The Substation, 1 Market Street, Newport
Performance: Saturday 7 October 2017 – 8.00pm

For more information, visit: or for details.

Image: courtesy of Scott Morrison