1980

Concerto piccolo

First invitations from abroad (jazz festivals in Cologne and Zurich). The band plays really "tight" for the first time and begins to attract interest. First record contract with hatART. Joris Dudli and Jon Sass join the band. In addition to two tours, VAO performs at the Vienna Festival (Wiener Festwochen) in the production "Der 8. Tag" (The Eighth Day), with more than 100 other participants (the Vienna choir Jeunesse Musicale, a brass band, a solo dancer, mimes, spoken texts by Antonia Limacher and simultaneous scenic design).


In contrast, the absurdist Dada show "Der 8. Tag" was the absolute high point of the alternative culture of the Achtz’gerhaus. (Kurier, Vienna)

Favorite subject of discussion: US.

 

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Der 8. Tag
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1980

Inside out
 

1981

Suite for the green eyes

Following invitations to the Berlin Jazz Festival (Berliner Jazztage) and festivals in Donaueschingen, Hamburg, Moers and Warsaw, VAO enjoys wide international acclaim for the first time. With their "Wiener Schmäh" (i.e. Puschnig’s lampoons), they become known in the European jazz scene as an insider’s tip. Scenic production, "Johnny tritt ab", for the Donaueschingen Musiktage (with Maggie Nichols, Karin Krog, Lauren Newton, Jon Surman & Harry Pepl). VAO produces the U&E Third Dream festival in Vienna, for which 10 Austrian jazz band arrange compositions by contemporary Austrian composers.


Soixante-dix ans après la musique sérielle, l’Ecole de Vienne fait de nouveau des siennes. (Libération, Paris)


Favorite subject of discussion: The world.
 

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1982

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The VAO plays little-known jazz tunes by Anthony Braxton, Lennie Tristano, Hans Koller, Scott Joplin, Booker Little, James Blood Ulmer, Fritz Power and others. 40 concerts in seven countries. Festival performances include Willisau, Saalfelden, Leipzig, Nancy, Milan, Balve. Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (Prize of the year of the German record critics) for "Concerto Piccolo". VAO wins first jazz poll (ranks as No. 1 European Big Band at the Warsaw Jazz Forum).

 

"Vienna Art Orchestra", a fantastic sound factory. (Spectateur, Brussles)

Favorite subject of discussion: Exceeding all limits.
 

From no time to rag time
 

1983

The minimalism of Erik Satie

The horns interpret the music of Erik Satie and receive invitations from numerous classical festivals. Finland tour and an invitation to play mixed program at the Paris Jazz Festival. Rüegg forms the Vienna Art Choir (11 members of the Viennese Schönberg Choir; plus Puschnig, Radovan, L. Newton and George Lewis). Commissioned by Vienna’s Serapion Theater, VAO plays its own version of Richard Wagner’s "Götterdämmerung". Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik and Prix jazz d’avantgarde (Paris) for "Suite for the Green Eighties".


Everyone today should play Satie the way the Vienna Art Orchestra does. (Frankfurter Allgemeine)

 

Favorite subject of discussion: Philosophy.
 

Vienna Art Choir
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Nightride of a lonely saxophone player

The band, on an all-time high, plays 77 concerts in four months in 17 countries [Festivals: Montreux (TV), Athens, Genova, Ljubljana, Moers, Groningen, Munster, East Berlin (TV), Tarbes, Luxembourg. Molde (TV), Bratislava, Leverkusen, Bregenz...] but this strenuous pace takes its toll on band members and tensions break out. Hannes Kottek plays lead trumpet for the first time. VAO becomes an official banner group for Austrian culture and ranks number one in nearly all jazz polls. "Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik" for "bist eulen?". The VAO switches to Moers Music (unfortunately).


Virtuoso, fantasy-endowed improvisers-and part clown, too. (Tagesanzeiger, Zürich)


Favorite subject of discussion: Money.
 

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1984

Perpetuum Mobile

USA tour (16 concerts throughout N. America, in such places as the Kennedy Center, Washington DC, and in New York City’s Public Theater. (Present in the audience are Gil Evans and Benny Golson). Further concerts in India and Bangkok (sessions with the musicians of the Royal Big Band of King Bhumipol Adolaydei). Puschnig, Schabata, Newton and rüegg develop a concept with the Austrian poet Ernst Jand1 in an effort to fuse open music with onomatopoetic "Jandl-artistry" This joint project lasts until 1991 and results in three CDs: "bist eulen?". "vom vom zum zum" and "lieber ein saxophon" (all by Extraplatte): In 1987, in collaboration with Uli Scherer, the concept is expanded. Concert series based on the program "The Minimalism of Erik Satie". The VAO ranks #1 in the Down Beat Poll (cat. TWDR)


What was most impressive in a set that adamantly refused to bore was the way it amplified orthodox big band techniques to accommodate modernist impulses. (Village Voice, New York)


Favorite subject of discussion: Women.
 

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1986

1985

 
Two little animals

Two European tours. Jazz festivals in Maputo, Mozambique and San Sebastian. In Wels, the VAO musicians appear in all of their various groupings for "An Evening with 7 x Art". Quarterly prize of the German record critics (Vierteljahres-preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik) for "Perpetuum Mobile" Performances of "The Minimalism of Erik Satie" in Milano, Firenze and at the Brucknerhaus, Linz. The Swiss Swing project (art choir plus orchestra) premieres at the Willisau Jazz Festival.


VAO’s dazzling mutations spare the listener the rigid formulas most bands live by.
(Down Beat, Chicago)


Favorite subject of discussion: Repetition.
 

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1988

Blues for Brahms

Participation in "Wrap Around the World," Nam June Paik’s TV special for Olympics. Stage music for George Tabori’s "Frauen, Krieg, Lustspiel". VAO produces "Jandl Total" in the Vienna Schauspielhaus. Lisbon Jazz Festival. European tour, including performances in Zagreb, Gerona, Barcelona. Paris, Cologne (TV) and Vienna (TV). Co Streiff plays in the place ofnightride of a lonely saxophone player Wolfgang Puschnig. The orchestra signs a three-year contract with Polygram. After reaping much praise on the occasion of their 10th anniversary and enjoying 10 years of largely positive commentary by the press, the VAO finds its critics splitting into two camps, pro and contra.

 

Bastarà decir que la VAO es una big band de auténtico jazz contemporáneo, una musica libre, intuitiva e improvisada que desconoce las barreras estillsticas. (El Pais, Madrid)

 

Favorite subject of discussion: Alcohol.

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