Austin Global Orchestra is a musical ensemble dedicated to traversing cultural boundaries through the exploration of the collaborative process and public performance. This process includes cultivating repertoire of various traditions from around the globe, creating and commissioning new work, and maintaining presence in the moment through the practice of improvisation. While the process of exploration is a vital component of the ensemble's approach, emphasis on creating compelling performances further defines the group's multidisciplinary style, which will be expanded beyond concerts into the realm of social and educational outreach.
Musicians from different cultural and musical backgrounds met in the thriving music scene of Austin, Texas, and decided to create the Austin Global Orchestra, a group dedicated to exploring cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary musical performance, in early 2012. Comprised of members from all genres of music in the Austin panorama, the concept of "world music" brought them together -- music which traverses boundaries, where the freedom of spontaneity of pure expression engage the wisdom and steadfastness of various global traditions in a sensual and spirited dance.
In its second year, the group has performed original music created by the members, as well as the works of such composers as Maurice Ravel, Ali Akbar Khan, Mohammad Abd Al-Wahab, Baligh Hamdy, Bassam Saba, Fared Shafinury, and Eyvind Kang, along with traditional music from Arabic and Sephardic traditions. The instrumentation includes strings, woodwinds, and percussion instruments commonly found in Western orchestras alongside less common instruments such as saxophone, oud, nay, cajón, kora, bandoneón, setar, santur, tabla and sarod. The ensemble has also featured vocalists singing in a variety of languages, including Arabic, Farsi, and Ladino. This year this repertoire and instrumentation promises to continue to expand as each concert is curated to create a special palette of moods and aesthetics.
Directed by violinist and composer Roberto Paolo Riggio of the award-winning world music band Atash, the roster of artists featured are members of leading bands from the world music community of Austin, including: Atlas Maior, Nefesh, The Inheritance, Minor Mishap Marching Band, Los Típicos de Cuba, Layalina, Bereket (University of Texas Middle Eastern Ensemble) and the Austin Symphony.