Australian Chamber Orchestra

Sydney Opera House

Hailed as the best chamber orchestra on earth, the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) is renowned for its inspired programming, energy and virtuosity.

Founded in 1975, the orchestra comprises established Australian and international musicians, together with a growing company of some of the best young players in the country. The ACO performs as a symphony orchestra, chamber music ensemble and electro-acoustic collective, collaborating with an extraordinary range of artists across genres.

As well as frequent national tours, the ACO often tours Asia, Europe and the United States, including regular performances at London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Vienna’s Musikverein and Washington’s Kennedy Center.

Those tours have garnered extraordinary praise, including The Times in the UK: "Astonishingly warm, full-bodied and tightly focused: the sound radiating from the crammed Wigmore Hall stage could only have come from the marvellous ACO... 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."

In this video, the ACO’s artistic director and lead violin, Richard Tognetti, and oud virtuoso Joseph Tawadros rehearse Vivaldi's The Four Seasons ahead of a national concert tour.

Tognetti, a violin virtuoso who has been at the helm of the ACO since 1989, has injected unprecedented creativity and unique artistic style into the programming and transformed the group into the energetic standing ensemble (except for the cellists) for which it is now internationally recognised.

Richard performs on a 1743 Guarneri del Gesù violin, on loan from an anonymous benefactor.

The Reef is a celebration of surfing, film and live music by the ACO.

ACO artistic director and lead violin Richard Tognetti collaborated with producer and director Mick Sowry and director of photography Jon Frank to evoke an epic stretch of coastline in Western Australia’s north west. Using a mythic day to symbolise our lives in all their trials and glory, The Reef consists of 21 individual compositions – some original, some among the greatest works in the classical tradition.

This preview features Vocalise by Rachmaninov and explores heroic failure – a simple yet beautiful evocation of the inescapable part of our lives when all does not go to plan, and the honour in trying again and again.

Ike See, Melissa Barnard and Julian Thompson.

Alexandru-Mihai Bota, Ilya Isakovich, Nicole Divall.

Helena Rathbone, Liisa Pallandi, Richard Tognetti and Maxime Bibeau.

Timo-Veikko Valve, Aiko Goto, Mark Ingwersen and Satu Vänskä.

Richard Tognetti, the ACO musicians and guests rehearse an excerpt of Mozart’s Symphony No.41, Jupiter.

Filmed on the last day of rehearsals as they are about to embark on the Mozart’s Last Symphonies national tour, this video features an enlarged orchestra including woodwind, brass and percussion playing alongside the ACO strings.

During its 40-year history, the ACO has seen just five lead violins, but each represents the heights of Australian music history.

From left: Robert Ingram, Dene Olding, Carl Pini, Richard Tognetti and John Harding.

“Hello Possums!” With her wisteria-coloured hair and cat-eye glasses, cross-dressing comedian and satirist Dame Edna is a household name throughout Australia and instantly recognisable to many around the world.

Not only did Australia’s most famous housewife appear with Tognetti and the ACO, she also dubbed him “the thinking woman’s André Rieu”!

The ACO is no stranger to the world of contemporary music. Guitarist with legendary alternative rock pioneers Radiohead, Jonny Greenwood, was in residence with the ACO in 2013, and the result was Water, which premiered in Dublin in 2014 and was then performed across Australia in 2014 and in the United States in 2015.

Brahms's Third Symphony – Australian Chamber Orchestra and guests.

The ACO and guest musicians rehearse an excerpt of the first movement of Brahms’s Symphony No.3 in F Major, Op.90.

Filmed over two days ahead of the Brahms 3 & Mozart Sinfonia Concertante national tour, it features a total of 50 musicians on stage in what is the ACO's largest ensemble of 2015.

Credits: Story

Created by Sam Doust and the
Sydney Opera House GCI Team


Australian Chamber Orchestra

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