Australian Art Orchestra with Nicole Lizee

Hymns to Pareidolia

Australian Art Orchestra.jpg


New music, electronica, turntablism and experimental jazz

The Australian Art Orchestra (AAO) presents a highly-charged program to open the 2016 Metropolis New Music Festival, featuring celebrated Canadian composer and turntablist, Nicole Lizée, traversing new music, electronica, turntablism and experimental jazz.

Nicole Lizée, from Montreal, has the world of classical music buzzing and in a relatively short career has already been commissioned San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, BBC Proms and twice by the Kronos Quartet.

Lizée fearlessly treads where most classical composers are afraid to go, bringing pop, MTV videos, turntablism, rave culture, Hitchcock, Kubrick, and 1960s psychedelia into the realm of classical music. Famously, her piece for the revered Kronos Quartet, Death to Komische, has the musicians playing electronic devices and tiny ‘Stylophone’ toy instruments.

Lizée will perform for the first time in Australia with one of the most acclaimed contemporary ensembles this country has produced, the Australian Art Orchestra, which has commissioned a brand new work, 8-Bit Urbex, that pays homage to the way cities are represented in 1980s video games. The piece features a video component that will put the audience back in front of the Atari 7800 and early Nintendo games while the Orchestra creates a nostalgic yet strikingly contemporary soundscape using traditional and electronic instruments along with turntables, old tape machines, and various Foley elements.

The program, Hymns to Pareidolia, will also feature another video work that showcases Lizée’s utterly unique approach. Karappo Okesutura is based on the idea of a karaoke performance that goes wrong because of a glitching karaoke player. The singer (Gian Slater) holds on for dear life and manages to stay on a wild ride that mashes pop songs such as The Bangles’, ‘Eternal Flame’, ‘Endless Love’, and Devo’s, ‘Whip It’. This is fun but it’s also serious music that tackles the most unlikely themes with true deftness of touch.

This festival opening concert will also premiere a newly commissioned piece by daring Australian composer, trumpeter and AAO artistic director, Peter Knight. Knight’s work, Diomira, creates a perfect foil for Lizée with a hypnotic, minimal rhythmic repetition that refracts and disintegrates as we listen. The instrumentation of the chamber jazz orchestra is expanded with the unexpected additions of turntables, a reel-to-reel tape machine (which replaces the drum kit) and laptop computer. The sounds of acoustic instruments and voices are interwoven with field recordings, and are filtered and augmented as Knight plays with our perceptions of what we hear and what we imagine we have heard.

Hymns to Pareidolia will also feature some of the most well known jazz, classical and creative musicians in the country including: Andrea Keller piano, Tristram Williams trumpet/conductor, Vanessa Tomlinson percussion, Peter Knight trumpet/electronics, Gian Slater voice and Adrian Sherriff bass trombone.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre



Nicole Lizee
Hymns to Pareidolia
Karappo Okesutura
8-Bit Cities (world premiere)

Peter Knight
Diomira (world premiere)

Austin Buckett
Virtuoso Pause

Ensemble and Instrumentation

Peter Knight Artistic Director
Nicole Lizée, Peter Knight and Austin Buckett composers
Tristram Williams conductor
Peter Knight and Tristram Williams trumpet
Nicole Lizée turntables
Steve Raegele guitar
Andrea Keller piano
Vanessa Tomlinson percussion
Joe Talia drums/electronics
Sam Pankhurst bass
Erkki Veltheim violin
Tony Hicks saxophone/flute/clarinet
Adrian Sherriff trombone/electronics
Gian Slater vocals
Mary Christina Rapp vocals/cello
Jem Savage technical consultant
Renee Dudfield Producer, Insite Arts


Join us for a post-concert talk with Nicole Lizee, Peter Knight and Marshall McGuire in the Ground Floor Foyer from 9pm – 9.40pm.


Nicole Lizée’s… pungent mix of iconic elements trick you into familiarity then lead you off on a seductive adventure. Close listening will reveal many worlds, some with shards of familiarity, but she seems to be singing for us in a region of her own devises, leaving the door wide open for our immediate pleasure and for memory.

If his trumpet is an element then Knight is an alchemist.