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Water Pushes Sand: Australian Art Orchestra

  • Braybrook Hub 107-139 Churchill Avenue Braybrook, VIC, 3019 Australia (map)

Nominated for APRA/AMC Art Music Awards 2016 ‘Jazz Work of the Year’.

Known for its brash and friendly people, spicy food, laid back tea houses, and the distinctive twang of its spoken dialect, Sichuan is unique in China. It is from Sichuan that philosopher Lao Tzu, according to legend, mounted a water buffalo and rode off into the sunset, never to be seen again. Its music combines colours from rustic country folk, street songs and the ear-splitting cacophony of gongs and cymbals. It is more like blues or early rock and roll than classical music. Even the opera is hard core, featuring long stretches of voice and percussion which could be straight out of an avant garde composition by Luciano Berio.

Australian Art Orchestra Associates Erik Griswold and Vanessa Tomlinson have been travelling to Sichuan for 15 years, learning about the local music and collaborating with musicians and dancers. In Water Pushes Sand, composer Erik Griswold and the Australian Art Orchestra create a colourful collage of winds, piano and percussion. The ten-piece band fuses traditional Sichuan melodies and rhythms with modern jazz improvisation to create a wild intercultural celebration. Water Pushes Sand evokes the tea-houses, streets, and rivers of Sichuan.


Erik Griswold – composer, piano

Shengli Zheng – vocals/changing faces dancer

Kaizhi Zhong – Chinese percussion

Min Dong - bamboo flute player

Tim O'Dwyer - saxophone

Sam Pankhurst – Contra Bass

Scott McConnachie – Sopranino saxophone

Mindy Meng Wang - guzheng

Vanessa Tomlinson – percussion

Peter Knight – trumpet/electronics, artistic director of the Australian Art Orchestra


This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australia China Council, and has been supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.

Tickets: FREE

Booking via: NA

Type: Live Music

Photo and acknowledgement credit: Brienna Macnish