Vienna Art Orchestra

Genres: Jazz
Decades: 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s


The Vienna Art Orchestra was formed in Austria in 1977 by Mathias Rüegg, Wolfgang Puschnig and Woody Schabata and from 1980 toured Europe. The group’s early performances included ‘happenings’, and there was a sometimes prickly correlation between musical discipline and anarchic rowdiness. As the years passed, however, the inherent musicianship of the orchestra’s members overcame any deficiencies, real or imagined, and the orchestra’s reputation spread. They visited the USA in 1984 and subsequently played festivals around the world including Jazz Yatra in India. Although quantitatively a big band, the Vienna Art Orchestra does not use the orthodox instrumentation, having fewer brass and reed instruments than is usual in a big band. However, the range and colouration are extended by the addition of tuba and vibraphone and sometimes vocal or vocalese contributions, in particular from Lauren Newton. In 1983, Rüegg formed the Vienna...

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