The Freestyle Orchestra
The Freestyle Orchestra (TFO) is an artist collective, bringing together classically trained musicians with a movement background and physical artists with a musical background developing together into strongly multidisciplinary performers. Members rehearse both movement choreography and music together, also working individually to master a variety of circus disciplines including fire manipulation (staff spinning, poi, fire eating and fire breathing), the aerial arts (silks, corde lisse, straps), acrobatics (gymnastics, yoga, handbalancing), circus movement (cyr wheel, card manipulation etc.) and various dance/physical movement styles. The result is a uniquely interdisciplinary performance experience where artists are challenged to switch quickly between formats. The Freestyle Orchestra seeks methodologies to more fully integrate acoustic instrumental music with modern circus, dance and physical theatre elements, examining the interplay and intersectionalities between the physical and the musical artist.
The first ideas for the project were formed between 2004-2006 during studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music by a collective entitled "L' Assemblée des Rêveurs" as the Sydney Stunt Orchestra. As members relocated for study in Europe/UK, the decision was made to reassemble the collective in Vienna. Linking with like-minded colleagues in the Northern Hemisphere, 'The Freestyle Orchestra' was born. 'Freestyle' refers both to our presentation philosophy (anything can happen!) and the bringing together of open minds. In 2019 our team comprises artists of 12 nationalities living between 9 countries.
Recipients of a Tarisio Trust Young Artist Grant 2016 (Audience Choice), performance highlights include the Venice Biennale 2017 (Artists' party for Tracey Moffatt co-hosted by Australian and New Zealand delegations), The Marble Circus (black-and-white film shot in Carrara, Italy - premiered at The Australian Circus Festival), International Storytelling Festival (Austria), 'Orchestra am Berg' (concert at 1900m in the Austrian Alps), Vienna International Buskers Festival and Les Jardins Musicaux classical festival (Switzerland). Members of The Freestyle Orchestra recently toured Australia in June 2019, combining with Australian musicians and creatives to create the #freestylesymphony for their new project 'Concertos on Fire' at Vivid Festival Sydney, exploring new directions in concert presentation fusing modern circus, fire performance, physical theatre and contemporary classical music.