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Music students to go Hard Core on the Fly with Australian Art Orchestra


Sharlene King
4 September 2014
Some of Southern Cross University’s most talented musicians will collaborate with members of Australia's premier large ensemble for improvising, the Australian Art Orchestra (AAO), during a free public workshop at the Lismore campus on Tuesday September 16.

Artistic director, Dr Peter Knight (trumpet, electronics), will be leading the AAO’s series of Hard Core on the Fly workshops at SCU, which feature Carl Dewhurst on guitar, vocalist Gian Slater and Christopher Hale playing electric bass.

Debuting in 2012, Hard Core on the Fly was conceived by longtime AAO member and collaborator Scott Tinkler to challenge musicians with free-flowing, completely improvised music with no set rules or formats.

In again curating its 2014 season, which saw the Orchestra play a month of shows in Melbourne in August, Scott has programmed a different combination of AAO elders and up and coming new musicians for each performance.

“Each of the established AAO artists involved have very strong ideas about improvisation and varied but well-practised approaches,” said Scott, who is a trumpeter.

"It is my hope that in the course of collaboration through performance that the AAO members are challenged to find ways to relate and communicate with each other and the SCU music students.

“My ultimate hope is that the joy of exploring music through improvisation is experienced not only by the artists, but the audience who can delight in witnessing and sharing this experience."

Dr Barry Hill, the contemporary music program course coordinator, said Hard Core on the Fly was a fantastic opportunity for the students.

“It gives them the chance to work with some of Australia’s finest professional musicians from a range of performance styles and genres. The Australian Art Orchestra’s innovative approach fits perfectly with the core values of the SCU contemporary music program, which is to offer music students a range of creative pathways into a career in music.”

About the Australian Art Orchestra
Founded by Paul Grabowsky in 1994, the Australian Art Orchestra has built an unparalleled reputation for the breadth and quality of its output. Initially conceived as a contemporary jazz orchestra the group was soon recognised as a serious commissioner and interpreter of new notated works. It also developed a reputation for cross-cultural collaborations that were more ambitious than anything seen in Australian music previously and it delved into hybrid forms well before the terminology for such approaches became commonplace.

Under artistic director Peter Knight, the AAO’s work constantly seeks to stretch genres and break down the barriers separating disciplines, forms and cultures. It explores the interstices between the avant-garde and the traditional, between art and popular music, between electronic and acoustic approaches, and creates works that traverse the continuum between improvised and notated forms.

Last month the Australian Art Orchestra took home the Art Music Awards ‘Award for Excellence by an Organisation’ for their standout achievements in 2013, including diverse programs, cross-cultural collaborations and community engagement. The Art Music Awards are presented each year by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and the Australian Music Centre.

Australian Art Orchestra music and improvisation workshop with SCU music students

Free and open to the public
Tuesday September 16, 2pm – 4pm
Studio One29, D Block Theatre, Contemporary Music Building, Lismore campus

The AAO’s Hard Core on the Fly workshops at SCU are funded by APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association).

Photo: Dr Peter Knight.