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.
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.
In January 2013, the AAO entered a new period of artistic leadership under the guidance of Artistic Director, Peter Knight. Knight is an internationally acclaimed composer, trumpeter and sound artist who has toured extensively throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, garnering wide acclaim for an eclectic approach that integrates jazz, world music, and experimental traditions.
With its multi-faceted programming initiatives, the AAO fosters and supports a strong and vibrant local contemporary music scene drawing inspiration from Australia’s cultural diversity. Central to this is an ongoing dedication to nurturing and deepening its dialogues with Australian indigenous cultures as well as maintaining strong connections with artistic collaborators in India, Korea, China and Indonesia. The Orchestra has a record of commitment to the notion of a future in which truly new music that integrates Asian and Western influences is part of the cultural fabric of our region.
The Australian Art Orchestra regularly tours both locally and internationally with recent cities including Hong Kong, Toronto, Paris, London, Brisbane and Chennai. It has won numerous awards for its work including three Australian Jazz Bell awards (most recently in 2014), the 2014 AMC/APRA Art Music Award ‘Excellence by an Organisation’, 2013 AMC/APRA Art Music Award ‘Performance of the Year’, a 2010 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards (Group Award), the H C Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship (2010), a Helpmann Award (2004), and a 2009 Classical Music award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Australian Music in a Regional Area’.
Australia jazz drummer and composer born in 1944.
Allan spent the 1960s establishing the The Red Onion Jazz Band with close friends Brett Iggulden and Bill Howard. They toured extensively in Europe.
From the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, after studying percussion with Graham Morgan, Allan worked extensively with Peter Gaudion, Geoff Kitchen, Ken Shroeder, Vince Jones, Barney Mc All, Steve Grant and Paul Grabowsky’s Trio and Quintet. Simultaneously he led the contemporary jazz group Onaje, which was selected to represent Australia at the prestigious Montreal Jazz Festival in 1992.
Allan has worked with over 35 International Jazz icons including Milt Jackson, Jay Mc Shann, Herb Ellis, Phil Woods, Al Cohn, Plas Johnson, Jimmy Witherspoon, Art Hodes, Barney Kessel, Urbie Green, Buddy Tate, Joe Newman, Mal Waldren, Johnny Griffin, Scott Hamilton, Wild Bill Davidson, Urbie Green, Ronnie Scott, Charlie Bird, Ralph Sutton, Sheilah Jordan, Red Holloway, Emily Remla and Richie Cole.
His discography totals over 70 LP’s or CDs, including The Red Onion’s “Big Band Memories”, “Creole Rhapsody” and “Crisis”. The Paul Grabowsky Trio’s “Six by Three” (Aria best jazz album 1990) and “When Words Fail” (1995, Aria best jazz album 1996), Onaje’s “Straight as a Briefcase “, New Orlean’s Rascal’s “Out of Nowhere”, “Genre Jumpin Jazz”, his Quartet’s “BirdCalls”, Shelley Scown’s “Angel”, Browne,Haywood and Steven’s “Sudden in a Shaft of Sunlight” and His New Rascal’s “East St. Kilda Toodleoo”. (The last five were short-listed for Aria awards).
Allan has also been involved in many film scores including Paul Grabowsky’s AFI award-winning music for the documentary on Joy Hester, “The Goodlooker” and Sue Stamps animated “The Whirligig”. Television credits include “The Esso Jazz Summit”, Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Bodgie Da Da and the Birth Of Cool “Access All areas”, The ABC Arts Programs and many variety appearances.
Browne is also a keen writer. He has some articles and poems published and is working on an anthology of poems and essays from the perspective of a forty-year career as a jazz musician.
is a national organisation which promotes private sector support for the arts through three programs:
We make connections. We work with businesses large and small, arts organisations of all types, individual artists, trusts and foundations. We provide advice, professional development, volunteering and networking opportunities.
Widely regarded as Australia’s premier Jazz Club, Bennetts Lane is open 7 nights a week and features the best of local, interstate and international musicians.
Contact Person: Michael Tortoni
The MJC has premiered several important new projects, including the Paul Grabowsky Orchestra (forerunner to the Australian Art Orchestra) and Andrea Keller’s Bartok Project. On top of this the MJC has regularly debuted interstate acts, providing a vital link in any Australian tour, and exposing Melbourne audiences to the best jazz from across the country. Of note, the MJC provided Melbourne debuts for The Necks, the catholics, Sandy Evans, the Mike Nock Quartet and Bernie McGann Quartet.
Since 1993 the majority of MJC performances have been at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, though in recent years the regular program expanded to include performances at the Paris Cat, as well as supporting other performances around Melbourne. In 1992 the MJC was responsible for bringing jazz in concert format to the Melbourne Festival for the first time, and in 1997 the MJC founded the Melbourne International Women’s Jazz Festival, organizing the festival until 2004 before handing it over to a Festival Board.The MJC presents the largest program of its type in Australia, and is a crucial element in Melbourne’s diverse arts scene.
Contact Person: Martin Jackson, email: firstname.lastname@example.org