MOFO Sessions - Dan Sheehan and Martin Ng

The MOFO Sessions return to Launceston, featuring Solo Series performances from Dan Sheehan and Martin Ng.


SAT 7 SEP 2019

10AM - 2PM






Dan Sheehan

Martin Ng

and others

The Solo Series now goes live for a series of durational solo performances performed live as part of MOFO Sessions, with performances by Dan Sheehan (organ) and Martin Ng (turntables and electronics).

Both Dan Sheehan and Martin Ng will perform as part of the MOFO Sessions on Saturday 7 September 2019.

City Baptist Church hosts Australian composer Daniel Sheehan for a durational organ performance as part of MOFO Sessions at Junction Arts Festival in Launceston, Tasmania.

Australian pianist, improviser and composer, Dan Sheehan traverses style and form in pursuit of innovative, personal modes of creative expression. Working with piano, rhodes, organs, and incorporating electro-acoustic and extended techniques, at the heart of his practice thrives a curiosity for the unexpected. With a background in jazz performance, and a deep interest in the post-jazz integration of contemporary classical languages, he aims to provoke a synthesis between improvisation and composition, regarding both elements as equally powerful in live performance.‘His compositions seem the product of a free mind and a restless urge... his playing, whether acoustic or rhodes, is as big as the room…

Martin Ng was the featured artist in the Solo Series in July, his recording can be viewed here, accompanied by an interview with AAO Artistic Director Peter Knight.

Martin Ng is perhaps the most distinctive turntablist Australia has produced. He started playing turntables at the age of 15, working as a club DJ in the 80's, but his performing style was too radical for regular clubs, so he gave up conventional DJ’ing in the in favour of experimental turntablism techniques.

AAO’s 25th Anniversary

This year the Australian Art Orchestra celebrates its 25th anniversary. I remember when the group was formed and the impact it had on me as an aspiring jazz musician - the first show I heard at The Continental in Prahran in Melbourne, with 20 of the most talented musicians on the scene. Bristling energy, barely tamed. It was exciting, and it reconfigured the idea I had for what a jazz musician could aspire to. There followed collaborations with musicians from Indonesia, Arnhem Land, and India, and performances of music written by the most challenging contemporary western composers. It was a long way from what I had experienced as a music student, and opened in my mind a world of possibility that was expansive and exciting and that was directly connected to the here and now.

The Australian Art Orchestra changed things for me, and I think it changed things for a lot of musicians and listeners. The vision of its founding artistic director, Paul Grabowsky, recognised that we live in a place of abundance and as ‘jazz’ musicians and artists that we need to respond to what’s around us rather than look primarily to America and Europe for inspiration. A quarter of a century on, I believe that vision is perhaps more relevant than ever.

In 2013 I was appointed the Orchestra’s second artistic director and have since tried to carry on this vision in my own way. The group certainly sounds very different now, and there are new faces, but I believe there is a thread we have woven through each of our projects that traces back to those first performances of Ringing the Bell Backwards in Melbourne in 1994.

This history is important. Understanding where we have come from as a group is crucial to building a vibrant future. As we celebrate 25 years we want to look forward while at the same time reaffirming our commitment to a set of core values that are centred on deep music practice and community building, and that also give space for the kind of individual creativity that made the first performance of the Orchestra I heard at The Continental in 1994 so exciting.

This individuality and anarchic spirit is somewhat at odds with a more traditional idea of an Orchestra, which is generally associated with blend and seamless integration. But this is a contradiction that the Australian Art Orchestra has always embraced, and it’s one of the things that sets this strange and wonderful organism apart from other musical groups. It’s also the defining aspect that I have focussed on to celebrate this 25th anniversary.

Each of the musicians we work with is an improviser, but more than that each has a highly refined, idiosyncratic, and personal language on their instrument. When we come together as a group, these voices are the starting point for our sound. The composers we commission listen to recordings made by our musicians to inform their compositional processes, and when we rehearse we spend time improvising together and workshopping ideas towards the creation of a collective language.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of this ‘orchestra of individuals’ we have chosen 12 musicians from our large pool of players to record solo improvisations that will form a portrait of the Australian Art Orchestra in 2019. Each of these recordings will also be captured on in high resolution video by innovative Melbourne company, Digital Pill. These videos will be released monthly with an accompanying photographic portrait by Sarah Walker, and a written response to the music.

Peter Knight, Artistic Director