Noises From The Neighborhood

Vienna Art Orchestra (A) - European Visionaries

The "court" bigband of Vienna, one of the most inventive jazz bigbands of the World will perform  its new program on the A38 Ship: a music tribute to the great philosophers of Europe with screening, jazz and classical music.

Vienna Art Orchestra (A)

The Vienna Art Orchestra, one of Europe’s leading big bands, was created in Vienna in 1977 by mathias rüegg. After a short but intensively activist beginning, the young sound "phenomenon" conquered the concert halls of Europe with its audacious postmodern style, which even touched the extremes of avant-garde and idiosyncratic Viennese Schmäh, as for example in the early recordings Tango from Obango, From No Time to Rag Time and The Minimalism of Erik Satie.

In the late 80s, the original 10-year-old line-up - which included Wolfgang Puschnig, Lauren Newton, Roman Schwaller, Wolfgang Reisinger, John Sass & Christian Radovan - gradually fell apart. A period of re-orientation followed, which only came to an end in 1992, with the success of the programs Fe&Males and La Belle et la Bête. A second generation has formed the core of the orchestra ever since. These include: Matthieu Michel, Andy Scherrer, Klaus Dickbauer and Florian Bramböck, together with Bumi Fian and Harry Sokal. 

Till 1997, the VAO was playing with a rather small line-up, after long-term members such as Herbert Joos, Uli Scherer and Heiri Känzig left the band. In 1998, thanks to Thorsten Benkenstein, the orchestra turned the page on its early avant-garde days and presented itself thereafter as a mature musical group with a big band format. Since that time, the VAO has consistently focused on developing well-planned programs in which dramaturgical and visual aspects are incorporated from beginning to end, paying due respect to both the European and American jazz traditions. Over the years, rüegg has occasionally spent less time composing and more time arranging various thematic programs, including the European Songbook, Nine Immortal (Non)Evergreens for Eric Dolphy, Ballads, American Rhapsody, Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love and All That Strauss. With the programs, Artistry in Rhythm, A Centenary Journey and art&fun.25, he reasserted himself as a composer in a major way.

Today, the VAO’s pool of musicians is larger and younger than ever before and it keeps on changing according to the stylistic requirements of each program. 

The European/International VAO is a rarity among large ensembles in that its members are all top-notch soloists who are capable of blending impeccably to produce a homogenous sound. Furthermore, the band shines at its own high magnitude without the added brilliance of stars. Over the past 27 years, it has given more than 800 concerts in over 50 countries and has made more than 35 recordings. The VAO has received many awards and is officially recognized as a cultural representative of the Austrian state.

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