Australian Chamber Orchestra
Internationally renowned for inspired programming and the rapturous response of audiences
and critics, the Australian Chamber Orchestra is a product of its country's vibrant,
adventurous, and inquiring spirit. In performances around Australia, around the world, and
on many recordings, the ACO moves hearts and stimulates minds with repertoire that spans
six centuries, and a vitality and virtuosity unmatched by other ensembles.
The ACO was founded in 1975; Richard Tognetti was appointed its artistic director and
leader in 1989. 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-art form projects and a vigorous commissioning program.
The ACO's 51 international tours across Asia, Europe, and the US have drawn outstanding
reviews for performances at many of the world's prestigious concert halls, including
Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, London's Wigmore Hall, New York's Carnegie Hall, and Vienna's
The ACO has made acclaimed recordings for many labels, including ABC Classics, BIS, Sony,
Channel Classics, Hyperion, EMI, and Chandos.
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 centers.
Australian violinist, conductor, and composer Richard Tognetti has established an
international reputation for his compelling performances and artistic individualism. He
studied at the Sydney Conservatorium with Alice Waten, in his home town of Wollongong with
William Primrose, and at the Berne Conservatory (Switzerland) with Igor Ozim, where he was
awarded the Tschumi Prize as the top graduate soloist in 1989. Later that year, he was
appointed leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and subsequently became artistic
director. He is also artistic director of the Festival Maribor in Slovenia.
Mr. Tognetti performs on period, modern, and electric instruments. His numerous
arrangements, compositions, and transcriptions have expanded the chamber orchestra
repertoire and have been performed throughout the world.
As director or soloist, Mr. Tognetti has appeared with the Handel and Haydn Society
(Boston), Hong Kong Philharmonic, Camerata Salzburg, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Irish Chamber
Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, and the
Australian symphony orchestras. He conducted Mozart's Mitridate, re di
Ponto for the Sydney Festival and gave the Australian premiere of Ligeti's Violin
Concerto with the Sydney Symphony.
Mr. Tognetti has collaborated with colleagues from across various art forms and artistic
styles, including Joseph Tawadros, Dawn Upshaw, James Crabb, Emmanuel Pahud, Jack Thompson,
Katie Noonan, Neil Finn, Tim Freedman, Paul Capsis, Bill Henson, and Michael Leunig.
In 2003, Mr. Tognetti was co-composer of the score for Peter Weir's Master and
Commander: The Far Sideof the World; violin tutor for its star, Russell
Crowe; and can also be heard performing on the award-winning soundtrack. In 2005, he
co-composed the soundtrack to Tom Carroll's surf film Horrorscopes and, in
2008, created The Red Tree, inspired by illustrator Shaun Tan's book. He
co-created and starred in the 2008 documentary film Musica Surfica, which has won
best film awards at surf film festivals in the US, Brazil, France, and South Africa.
As well as directing numerous recordings by the ACO, Mr. Tognetti has recorded Bach's solo
violin repertoire for ABC Classics, winning three consecutive ARIA awards, and the Dvořák
and Mozart violin concertos for BIS.
A passionate advocate for music education, Mr. Tognetti established the ACO's education
and emerging artists programs in 2005.
Mr. Tognetti was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2010. He holds honorary
doctorates from three Australian universities and was made a National Living Treasure in
1999. He performs on a 1743 Guarneri del Gesù violin, lent to him by an anonymous
Australian private benefactor.