"This is sensuous, immersive ambient music and a stunning example of how a good composer can distil the bombast and drama of the pipe organ into a thing of simple grace and beauty." Four stars The Guardian

Review of Exit Ceremonies at Sydney Festival January 22nd 2016




Melbourne Town Hall
Alvin Lucier commission (World Premiere)
6 February, 2016


Swing Bridge by Alvin Lucier, commissioned by AAO and premiered as part of Exit Ceremonies was recorded at Melbourne Town Hall by Myles Mumford and will be released in 2019 on Mode Records


Artistic Director
Peter Knight (AAO)
Alvin Lucier
Peter Knight
Sonya Holowell
Martin Ng
Claire Edwardes
drums/revox B77 reel to reel tape machine
Joe Talia
Erkki Veltheim and Anna McMichael
Mary Rapp
Sam Pankhurst
Tristram Williams

Production Manager/Lighting (MELB)
Paul Lim
Myles Mumford and Jem Savage

In their own ways, all three works on this remarkable program demonstrated uncompromising assertiveness (and) held you engrossed from start to finish. . . the sheer persistence of these composers was remarkable, even admirable.
In essence, the work is a slow-moving study in textural interweaving: clearly irritating for some, engrossing for many others. 

3.5 Stars
Clive O'Connell, The Age, Feb 2016.

EXIT CEREMONIES - including Swing Bridge composed by Alvin Lucier for AAO

Exit Ceremonies celebrates the darkness with a pair of lush, pulsating new works for pipe organ and mixed ensemble.

Two of Australia's most vibrant musical forces, the Australian Art Orchestra and Ensemble Offspring, unite with celebrated young composer-pianists Austin Buckett and Simon James Phillips, who have each created immersive works that exploit the extraordinary array of sonic effects that can only be achieved with large pipe organs.

Simon James Phillips - FLAW (2015) for pipe organ and ensemble (WP)

In FLAW Simon James Phillips transfigures our sense of linear time using a mix of acoustic and electronic instruments. Drawing inspiration from society's ever increasing technological contributions to the world and their resulting multilayered impacts, Phillips works with subtle timbral and structural development to build complex, slowly turning textural layers that hypnotise and fascinate.

Austin Buckett - AISLES (2015) for pipe organ and ensemble (WP)

AISLES is a work for pipe organ, turntables, strings, trumpet, vocals, and two percussionists that draws on a wide range of inspirations from minimalism to hip hop and which creates a truly immersive experience for the audience. AISLES features a slowly evolving approach and sets up looped conversations between the organ, turntables, percussion and strings over which the ethereal voice of Sonya Holowell and the trumpet of Peter Knight float like kites in the ether.
'Confusing the distinction between the organic and the mechanical' - Ad Hoc (US)

Alvin Lucier - SWING BRIDGE (2015) for pipe organ and ensemble (WP)

Alvin Lucier, now in his 85th year, is one of the towering figures of twentieth century music and is famous for works that explore phenomena and auditory perception. Still highly active, Lucier lectures and performs extensively in Asia, Europe and the United States and has recently collaborated with John Ashbury (Theme)  and Robert Wilson (Skin, Meat, Bone). His recent sound installation, 6 Resonant Points Along a Curved Wall, accompanied Sol LeWitt's enormous sculpture Curved Wall, in Graz, Austria, and in the Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University.
Many of Lucier's works explore the difference tones produced by two notes played very closely together and generate sonically hallucinatory effects both conceptually fascinating and sensually engaging. The organ is a wonderful vehicle for Lucier's ideas and the prospect of a brand new work composed specifically for the wonderful Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ with an ensemble of players from the Australian Art Orchestra and Ensemble Offspring is scintillating.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its funding and advisory body. This event is also supported by Creative Victoria, the City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program, Arts NSW and Noisy Egg Creation Fund.      

The AAO would also like to thank our official drink sponsors, Barrow Boys Brewing Co and Katnook Estate, who provided beer and wine tastings for our Melbourne show.