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~ not from Alaska, not really an orchestra ~
Alaska Orchestra is a collaborative project that grew from the monthly music night Musical Alaska at the Sydney artist-run gallery Alaska Projects 2012 - 2015.
The orchestra has performed a wide range of music since their inception in 2013, but the avant-garde music of downtown New York from the late-60’s/early 70’s has been an enduring influence (notably La Monte Young/Tony Conrad’s Theatre of Eternal Music), as well as Krautrock groups like Cluster and Tangerine Dream, and the early ambient music of Brian Eno, Hiroshi Yoshimura and Midori Takada. Alaska Orchestra has featured and collaborated with many stalwarts of the Australian experimental and electronic music scene since its inception. It's current members include Mara Schwerdtfeger and Heather Shannon.
The Orchestra’s first release, Commission Project no. 1: Christina Vantzou, was issued independently in 2015. Their second release, The Oloid, was written after being invited to perform on FBi Radio’s Ears Have Ears Live series in June 2016 and released in late 2017. The group were commissioned to re-make Brian Eno’s seminal album Ambient 1: Music for Airports for VividLIVE at the Sydney Opera House in 2018, selling out all 3 performances. This project was also performed in 2020 as part of the Sydney Opera House's Digital Season.
Their latest release, Live at Wylie’s Baths, is taken from an improvised set recorded at Desire Lines 6.0 at Wylie’s Baths, Coogee in October 2018. It was performed outside, overlooking the ocean, in the rain, and Mara Schwerdtfeger made a short film to accompany.