Brian Marsella / Christian Lillinger’s “Open Form for Society” / Australian Art Orchestra feat. Julia Reidy

Extraordinary works on Friday night: pianist Brian Marsella with one of his rare solo concerts, drummer Christian Lillinger with the second-ever performance of his “Open Form for Society” and the Australian Art Orchestra with compositions by Peter Knight and Julia Reidy.

Australian Art Orchestra, Christian Lillinger, Brian Marsella

Australian Art Orchestra, Christian Lillinger, Brian Marsella

© Joanna Stoga, Nino Halm, Eleonora Alberto

Past Dates

Livestream on  ARTE Concert from 18:00 to 21:00

Brian Marsella

German premiere

Pianist Brian Marsella grew up in Philadelphia pursuing an unusual tandem of classical music and R&B. But it was with his arrival in New York, where he attended the prestigious New School, that his burgeoning love for jazz blossomed. His love of Brazilian music carried on as a member of Cyro Baptista’s Beat the Donkey, and his participation in the quartet MAST collided his interest in funk with the compositions of bebop progenitor Thelonious Monk, but his jazz chops were truly revealed in the New York post-bop quintet The Flail for much of the last decade. Marsella triumphantly hit his stride with a trio originally formed to play the music of John Zorn. In fact, the trio, with bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Kenny Wollesen, has cut two stunning albums of Zorn’s compositions, where the pianist conveys the spirit of overlooked 50s bebop figures like Elmo Hope and Herbie Nichols, albeit at breakneck speed. Last year he joined forces with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Anwar Marshall to celebrate the music of another overlooked piano genius with “Outspoken: the Music of the Legendary Hasaan”. At Jazzfest Berlin, Marsella makes his German debut with a rare solo performance.

Christian Lillinger: Open Form for Society

Berlin drummer and composer Christian Lillinger is one of the world’s most distinctive percussionists and bandleaders, with an immediately identifiable attack that subdivides rhythms into shifting, perpetually driving units. This year he releases his most audacious project yet, a meticulously sculpted symphony of beats, keyboard patterns, and strings that relies on the improvisational invention of his superb ensemble to engage in high-wire interaction. His own stuttering drum beats are complemented by fractal lines articulated on piano bass, cello, tuned percussions, and synthesizer forging a shifting landscape of motion, abstract electronic spasms, and elusive melody that draws upon contemporary classical music and hip-hop as much as jazz. Through rigorous post-production Lillinger and Johannes Brecht reduced materials recorded in the studio into a stunningly compact, efficient juggernaut of movement, cutting away every drop of extraneous sound. Now the ensemble performs the music in real-time for the second time ever, following a premiere at Donaueschingen in October.

Christian Lillinger Open Form for Society on  YouTube

Australian Art Orchestra feat. Julia Reidy

Founded in 1994, the Australian Art Orchestra has spent decades pursuing a decidedly broad and varied programmatic conception, taking inspiration from adventurous jazz-related groups like the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Vienna Art Orchestra, but forging its own eclectic identity. Over the decades the ensemble, long directed by trumpeter Peter Knight, has presented strikingly detailed adaptations of music by Australia’s indigenous Yolngu people, European folk and art songs from the 1930s, folk melodies and street sounds from China’s Sichuan province, and Bach’s “St Matthew Passion”, among others, all heavily imbued by fearless improvisation and distinguished by thrilling, often-humorous arrangements. In its Jazzfest Berlin premiere the group performs two works by Knight: “The Sharp Folds” and “The Plains”, the latter based on Gerald Murnane’s singular novel. They also debut a new commission from the wonderfully idiosyncratic Berlin-based Australian guitarist who resists orthodoxy as much as they do: Julia Reidy, a committed experimentalist whose music makes room for post-John Fahey fingerstyle playing, Autotune post-pop music, and free improvisation.

Australian Art Orchestra The Sharp Folds on  Vimeo
Australian Art Orchestra The Plains on  Vimeo
Julia Reidy on  Bandcamp

Brian Marsella (USA) German premiere

Brian Marsella piano solo

Christian Lillinger (D / GR / SVN / AUT / UK / SWE)
Open Form for Society

Christian Lillinger composition, drums, concept
Cory Smythe piano
Kaja Draksler upright piano
Elias Stemeseder synth, piano
Christopher Dell vibraphone
Roland Neffe marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel
Lucy Railton cello
Petter Eldh double bass, e-bass
Robert Landfermann double bass


Australian Art Orchestra feat. Julia Reidy (AU) German premiere
Compositions by Peter Knight and Julia Reidy

Julia Reidy guitar
Simon Barker drums
Jacques Emery double bass
Andrea Keller piano
Tilman Robinson electronics
Georgina Darvidis vocals
Lizzy Welsh violin
Aviva Endean clarinet, flute
James Macauley trombone
Peter Knight trumpet, electronics
Jem Savage technical producer

Recording of the Live Stream on Arte Concert

Friday, 1 November, 18:00–21:00
Brian Marsella / Christian Lillinger’s “Open Form for Society” / Australian Art Orchestra feat. Julia Reidy

Available until 10 November 2019

The programme of the Australian Art Orchestra is funded by

Logo Australia Council for the Arts