Of Deities and Demons grew directly out of AAO Artistic Director Peter Knight’s meeting with drummer and Baliphonics leader Samudi Suraweera during a visit Knight made to Sri Lanka. The conversations and the friendship that grew between these two musicians led to the idea of meshing the experimental inclinations of the AAO with the yak bera (demon drum), and other traditional instruments of Sri Lanka.
“There is something musical about the way Gerald Murnane writes about Australian landscape, it’s an interesting place to compose music from,” Peter Knight says.
Kim Myhr: “For me, when I approach the piece and the composition it is important that the audience doesn’t have a feeling that the musicians are just reading through a big score, but they are actually really present and making music. The score is just a score but the music happens in the room and in the space.”
The Creative Music Intensive residency, established in 2014, is a groundbreaking cross-cultural residency created by the Australian Art Orchestra, aiming to provide a unique professional development program for musicians from across Australia and Asia, fostering collaboration and dialogue in a meeting of cultures and practice
Terri Lyne Carrington, Christian McBride and Branford Marsalis share some common traits. They are all adept at both ‘straight jazz’ styles and the urban r’n’b-infused sub-genres, easily stepping in and out of these worlds, blending elements, mixing things, creating new music. By doing so, they all helped redefine jazz and keep it relevant.
This strange sense of yearning and of trying to capture the essence of a memory and understanding that memory is fallible and you can never really re-experience something as it was, I was interested in that and interested in the way that music can communicate that gradual decay of memory. So the piece is kind of about patterns and the decay of patterns, it’s about memory and the beauty of decay.
“If you want to actually follow the tradition of jazz, you have to respond to your story and the place that you live in. Jazz has always been questioning and curious and absorbing other influences. And this is one of the most exciting things about being an Australian musician, being surrounded by lots of different cultures”.
20Up sees the AAO return to the place of its first concert: the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne. A total of twenty-five musicians will perform a range of works from Ringing the Bell Backwards, the first work written for the AAO by Founding AD Paul Grabowsky which premiered at Malthouse in 1994; Passion, which is the AAO’s take on Bach’s St Matthew Passion; Testimony, Sandy Evans’ extraordinary tribute to Charlie Parker; Struttin’, Eugene Ball’s impressionistic take on Louis Armstrong, and a brand new commission from young composer, Austin Buckett called Virtuoso Pause.
I’ve been listening to improvised music for over a decade and I still don’t ‘get it’. Musical friends say I don’t need to ‘understand’. They say I just need to listen. Over the years, that’s exactly what I’ve learned to do. I’m always learning to do it again!
Network of Lines is a work of ethereal and pure loveliness – albeit one with a red-blooded heart.