Melbourne Festival and MPavilion present

Australian Art Orchestra

Discover life in Sichuan with percussionists Erik Griswold, Vanessa Tomkinson and Master Zhong Kaizhi.

Erik Griswold
Composer, pianist

Eclectic composer-pianist Erik Griswold fuses experimental, jazz and world music traditions to create works of striking originality. Specializing in prepared piano, percussion and toy instruments, he has created a musical universe all his own that is "sincere" (, "playful" (igloo magazine), "colourful and refreshingly unpretentious" (Paris Transatlantic). 

Since the late 1980s he has composed solo and chamber works for many adventurous performers in the U.S. and Australia, such as Margaret Leng Tan, Steven Schick, Either/Or Ensemble, Southern Cross Soloists, red fish blue fish, Speak Percussion, and many others. His music has been performed at numerous major festivals and venues throughout Australia, the U.S., Asia, and Europe. 

Vanessa Tomkinson
Percussion (Australian Art Orchestra performer since 2001)

Australian percussionist Vanessa Tomlinson has produced significant work in the areas of solo percussion, contemporary chamber music, improvisation and composition. Central to Vanessa’s work is collaboration, principally with musicians, circus performers, visual artists and dancers. Vanessa studied at the University of Adelaide, Hochschule fur Musik in Freiburg and the University of California, San Diego (with Steven Schick and George Lewis), where she received her DMA in 2000. She has also spent extensive time studying Sichuan Opera Percussion in Chengdu China with Mr. Zhong. Vanessa is Head of Percussion at the Queensland Conservatorium, and has received residencies from Asialink Foundation (Sichuan), Civatelli Ranieri Foundation (Italy) Banff (Canada) and Bundanon National Trust.

Vanessa has performed with the Australian Art Orchestra in Into the Fire, Passion, Ringing the Bell Backwards, Ruby's Story, Soak/The Hollow Air, Kura Tungar: River Songs and Stories, Shorelines, Testimony: The Legend of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis: Prince of Darkness and Two Ducks Swimming.