The Australian Art Orchestra, led by artistic director Peter Knight, is
renowned for merging musical styles and cultures to create thrilling works.
August 2017 sees The AAO cement their position as Australia’s leading art
music ensemble as they tour nationally performing their acclaimed work
Water Pushes Sand with a ten-piece ensemble featuring Sichuan ‘face
changing’ dancer and promoting the album release of this important work
Water Pushes Sand was composed by Erik Griswold for the Australian
Art Orchestra and master musicians from Sichuan, China. Long term
associates of the AAO, Erik Griswold and Vanessa Tomlinson have spent
15 years exploring the music and culture of Sichuan - their collaborations
with musicians from Sichuan are well known.
Sichuan is the “Texas of China”. It is known for its brash and friendly people,
spicy food, laid back tea-houses and the distinctive twang of its spoken
dialect. Its music combines colours from rustic country folk, street songs,
and the ear-splitting cacophony of gongs and cymbals. It is more like blues
or early rock and roll than classical music. Even Sichuan opera is hard
core. The combination of Griswold’s spaced out big band sensibility and
an Australian / Sichuanese ten-piece all-star band makes Water Pushes
Sand sound like nothing you’ve ever heard.
Since Water Pushes Sand’s lauded debut at 2015’s Melbourne Festival the
piece went on to be nominated for the APRA/AMC Art Music Awards ‘2016
Jazz Work of the Year’ and won rave reviews in the media for its unique
fusion of Sichuan folk music and jazz. Planet Arts called it “a liberating
performance showing the beauty and strength of two cultures intertwining”,
and The Music “an excellent collaboration”.
Peter Knight says, “The AAO is doing something unique in Australian
music. We collaborate with musicians from around the world to work in
the space where cultures, genres and disciplines collide. We are breaking
down barriers, blurring lines, creating dialogue and building friendships.
Water Pushes Sand epitomises this, creating something distinctive and
completely relevant to Australia in 2017.”
Water Pushes Sand, featuring master musicians from Sichuan out now on