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Australian Chamber Orchestra

2014 Season
2015 Season
Company Overview

2014 Season

To close out the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s 2014 season at the Sydney Opera House, the ACO is proud to present two very special concerts, Tognetti’s Beethoven on 2 & 3 November and Marwood’s Serenade on 30 November.

Tognetti’s Beethoven on 2 & 3 November features three bold Beethoven works: his majestic first foray into symphonic writing, the stormy and drama-filled Coriolan–Overture and his Triple Concerto.

Audiences will also be treated to the premiere of Water, the long-awaited new piece by acclaimed musician and Radiohead guitarist, Jonny Greenwood. Greenwood wrote this new work especially for and alongside the ACO.

Watch Richard Tognetti discuss both Beethoven and Jonny Greenwood here.

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Marwood’s Serenade on 30 November features acclaimed British violinist Anthony Marwood as Guest Director and includes tributes to Stravinsky, Dvorak and Enescu. 

Marwood is revered by audiences, critics and players alike for his distinctive playing, golden sound and inspiring leadership.

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Don’t miss these two very special events as the ACO says farewell to Season 2014. 

2015 Season

2015 is set to be a huge year for the Australian Chamber Orchestra in more ways than one!

Not only do they celebrate 40 years since their very first concert way back in 1975, but they also celebrate 25 years with the great Richard Tognetti at the helm.

Therefore as part of the 2015 season, the ACO is taking on 450 years of music by 28 composers from 11 countries, performed by more than 30 guest artists, not to mention the 17 core members of the ACO.

Watch the 2015 preview here.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
 bookends the year, and in this concert the ACO welcome back long-time collaborator Joseph Tawadros, who brings his own Egyptian sounds to this quintessentially Baroque program. 

On 25 April 2015, it will be 100 years since Australia’s first troops landed at Gallipoli. To commemorate this extraordinary part of Australian history, the ACO has invited director Neil Armfield to join them to crystallise something as profound as mateship, independence, and betrayal for Reflections on Gallipoli.  The concert features works by Vaughan WilliamsFrederick Septimus Kelly and the world premiere of a new piece by Carl Vine.

Violinist Stefan Jackiw celebrates with ACO, as well as guest artists Richard EgarrSusan GrahamOlli MustonenSol Gabetta and the Basel Chamber Orchestra.

The ACO’s big symphonic journey features the last great Romantic symphonist, Brahms and his Third Symphony and they will also perform Mozart’s last three symphonies – among the greatest ever written.

Join with the ACO as they celebrate 40 years in 2015!

Get your 2015 Subscription here.

Single tickets onsale at 9am, Thursday 4 December.

Connect with the ACO on Facebook and Twitter.


Richard Tognetti AO: Artistic Director and Lead Violin

Helena Rathbone: Principal 2nd Violin

Satu Vänksä: Assistant Leader Violin

Madeleine Boud: Violin

Alice Evans: Violin

Aiko Goto: Violin

Mark Ingwersen: Violin

Ilya Isakovich: Violin

Rebecca Chan Violin

Christopher Moore: Principal Viola

Nicole Divall: Viola

Timo-Veikko Valve: Principal Cello

Melissa Barnard: Cello

Julian Thompson: Cello

Maxime Bibeau: Bass

Company Overview

Internationally renowned for inspired programming and the rapturous response of audiences and critics, the Australian Chamber Orchestra is a product of our country’s vibrant, adventurous and enquiring spirit. In performances around Australia, around the world and on many recordings, the ACO moves hearts and stimulates minds with repertoire spanning six centuries and a vitality and virtuosity unmatched by other ensembles.

The ACO was founded in 1975. Every year, this ensemble presents performances of the highest standard to audiences around the world, including 10,000 subscribers across Australia. The ACO’s unique artistic style encompasses not only the masterworks of the classical repertoire, but innovative cross-artform projects and a vigorous commissioning program.

The outstanding Australian musician Richard Tognetti was appointed as Artistic Director and Lead Violin in 1989. Under his inspiring leadership, the ACO has performed as a flexible and versatile ‘ensemble of soloists’, on modern and period instruments, as a small chamber group, a small symphony orchestra, and as an electro-acoustic collective. In a nod to past traditions, only the cellists are seated – the resulting sense of energy and individuality is one of the most commented-upon elements of an ACO concert experience.

Regular international tours to Asia, Europe and the USA have drawn outstanding reviews for the ACO’s performances at many of the world’s prestigious concert halls, including Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Vienna’s Musikverein, Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center.

The ACO’s dedication and musicianship has created warm relationships with such celebrated soloists as Emmanuel Pahud, Steven Isserlis, Dawn Upshaw, Imogen Cooper, Christian Lindberg, Joseph Tawadros, Melvyn Tan and Pieter Wispelwey. The ACO is renowned for collaborating with artists from diverse genres, including singers Tim Freedman, Neil Finn, Katie Noonan, Paul Capsis, Danny Spooner and Barry Humphries and visual artists Michael Leunig, Bill Henson, Shaun Tan and Jon Frank. Committed to Australian composition, the ACO has given 1700 performances of over 250 works by 80 Australian composers.

Several of the ACO’s musicians perform with spectacularly fine instruments. Tognetti plays a 1743 Guarneri del Gesù violin, on loan from an anonymous Australian benefactor. Principal Cello Timo-Veikko Valve plays a 1729 Giuseppe Guarneri Filius Andreae cello, on loan from Mr Peter Weiss AM. Principal 2nd Violin Helena Rathbone plays a 1759 Guadagnini violin on loan from the Commonwealth Bank Group. Assistant Leader Satu Vänskä plays a 1728/29 Stradivarius violin owned by the ACO Instrument Fund, through which investors participate in the ownership of historic instruments.

The ACO has made acclaimed recordings for labels including ABC Classics, Sony, Channel Classics, Hyperion, EMI and Chandos and currently has a recording contract with BIS. Highlights include the three-time ARIA Award-winning Bach recordings and Vivaldi Concertos with Emmanuel Pahud. The ACO appears in the television series Classical Destinations II and the multi-award-winning film Musica Surfica.

In 2005, the ACO inaugurated an ambitious national education program, which includes outreach activities and mentoring of outstanding young musicians, including the formation of ACO2, an elite training orchestra which tours regional centres.


Artistic Director: Richard Tognetti AO
General Manager: Timothy Calnin


Telephone: +61 2 8274 3800
Fax: +61 2 8274 3801


 [The ACO] plays everything with raw, high-spirited, rhythmically propulsive energy… Early music doesn’t get much hipper than this. Los Angeles Times

For vitality, elegance, playfulness and technical prowess… it would be hard to top the ACO. San Francisco Chronicle

Tognetti and his 21-piece group can apparently play anything, and they play it all with tremendous verve. San Francisco Classical Voice

The energy and vibe of a rock band with the ability of a crack classical chamber group. Washington Post   

What a pleasure and yet what a shock it is to be reminded of just how remarkable a performance can be. The Scotsman

Listening to the ACO is like taking a swig of a vitamin drink. Suddenly: pow! The music certainly feels stronger, muscled, hot from the gym… If that’s what Australia does for you, I’m also emigrating. The Times

A visit from the ACO always raises questions. Does violinist Richard Tognetti, its leader for 19 years, have a slowly mouldering portrait in the attic? Can ugly players even audition? More pertinently, let's ask about what we settle for from music-making in the UK - why do so few of our ensembles present their music with this kind of ear-grabbing vigour? The Guardian

The Australian Chamber Orchestra is a ticket to musical bliss. The Times, UK

The Australian Chamber Orchestra… took the breath away.  Such supple phrasing and dynamics!  Such a gorgeous tone… Such freshness, passion, and commitment!… This group must be the best chamber orchestra on earth. The Times, UK

A brilliant, stimulating evening…..played with gusto and briskly focused vitality. San Francisco Chronicle

There was only one thing wrong with the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s April 12 Santa Fe Concert Association performance: nothing…It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever heard. The Santa Fe New Mexican, USA

Astonishingly warm, fullbodied and tightly focused: the sound radiating from the crammed Wigmore Hall stage could only have come from the marvellous Australian Chamber Orchestra….Such panache, such confidence! Eighteen minds thinking and breathing as one. Heavenly playing, but that was expected: you’d have to scour the universe hard to find another band like the ACO. The Times, UK

The lean, sleek ensemble from Down Under is well enough established now to dare a little with its selection of tour repertoire. In a refreshing change from the standard chamber music blockbusters, the group offered a diverse collection of works spanning three centuries, cleverly united by the theme of a descending minor scale, symbol of intense melancholy. Financial Times, UK

It probably did not come as a surprise to those who knew it through its recordings, but the Australian Chamber Orchestra had those who were listening for the first time riveted to their seats. El País, Spain

Tognetti's beaming violin set the pace, driving the others to follow and injecting a catch-me-if-you-can spontaneity. Clear, too, was the commitment to make each aspect of the score audible, and the sound-sculpting was top-notch. Washington Post, USA

This concert was that rare thing, a beautifully shaped whole in which all the parts were absolutely in tune with each other and with the space…. The orchestra played like angels throughout, with springing rhythmic grace and impeccable style... (Richard Tognetti) is one of the most characterful, incisive and impassioned violinists to be heard today. The Telegraph, UK

Unified, polished and energetic.. (the Corelli) was delivered with virtuoso ensemble playing and an invigorating spontaneity that seemed to flow from Mr. Tognetti’s charismatic leadership....these spirited Australians seemed reluctant to start the long trip home. Encores came by way of Boccherini and Vivaldi. The New York Times

Tognetti's sound - and his orchestra's sound - has rough edges, and those rough edges are a kind of glory. Theirs is the aggressive give-and-take approach of musicians playing for themselves - the take, sometimes, as in take no prisoners. This is obviously just the kind of music-making on which Anderszewski and Upshaw thrive. But it also made Corelli's Concerto Grosso Opus 6, No. 4 overwhelming fun… and the Szymanowski quartet arresting. Los Angeles Times


The Four Seasons
Presenter Australian Chamber Orchestra
Venue Concert Hall
Dates 15 Feb - 17 Feb
Marwood's Serenade
Presenter Australian Chamber Orchestra
Venue Concert Hall
Dates 30 Nov
Reflections on Gallipoli
Presenter Australian Chamber Orchestra
Venue Concert Hall
Dates 15 Mar
Mostly Mendelssohn
Presenter Australian Chamber Orchestra
Venue Concert Hall
Dates 17 May
Egarr & The Golden Age
Presenter Australian Chamber Orchestra
Venue Concert Hall
Dates 28 Jun
Brahms 3
Presenter Australian Chamber Orchestra
Venue Concert Hall
Dates 16 Aug
Olli Mustonen, Bach & Shostakovich
Presenter Australian Chamber Orchestra
Venue Concert Hall
Dates 20 Sep
Mozart’s Last Symphonies with Richard Tognetti
Presenter Australian Chamber Orchestra
Venue Concert Hall
Dates 07 Oct
Basel Chamber Orchestra
Presenter Australian Chamber Orchestra
Venue Concert Hall
Dates 29 Nov
The Four Seasons - December
Presenter Australian Chamber Orchestra
Venue Concert Hall
Dates 07 Dec


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