Led by Peter Knight, The Australian Art Orchestra (AAO) is one of Australia’s leading contemporary ensembles. Its 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 music that traverses the continuum between improvised and notated forms.
The AAO takes influence from the acclaimed Art Ensemble of Chicago and in doing so it builds on a set of ideas that stretch back to the beginnings of jazz. These ideas, in turn, drew on an extraordinary collision of cultures, ways of thinking, and folk traditions that are so old that their beginnings are untraceable.
The AAO has won numerous awards and much praise for their 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’. The AAO regularly tours both locally and internationally with recent cities including Sydney (Sydney Festival), Bremen (Germany), Hong Kong, Toronto, Paris, London, Brisbane and Chennai.