Performance Sunday, April 26, 2015 | 3 PM

Australian Chamber Orchestra

Zankel Hall
A new work by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, a devotee of classical music, and Prokofiev’s witty piano miniatures arranged for orchestra provide contrasts to two Classical-era favorites: Haydn’s bubbly Symphony No. 83, “The Hen,” and Mozart’s beloved Clarinet Concerto with soloist Sharon Kam. Hailed by Time Out New York, Artistic Director Richard Tognetti and "his badass classical band ... don’t play New York nearly often enough. But, on the rare occasion that they do come in from Down Under, they leave an indelible mark on the city’s music scene."

The contemporary work on this program is part of My Time, My Music.


  • Australian Chamber Orchestra
    Richard Tognetti, Artistic Director
  • Sharon Kam, Clarinet


  • PROKOFIEV Visions fugitives, Op. 22 (arr. Barshai/Tognetti)
  • MOZART Clarinet Concerto in A Major
  • JONNY GREENWOOD Water (NY Premiere)
  • HAYDN Symphony No. 83, "The Hen"

  • Encores:
  • BÉLA KOVÁCS Hommage à Manuel de Falla
  • MOZART WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Allegro con spirito from Symphony No. 29 in A Major, K. 201

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Richard Tognetti

    Richard Tognetti has been artistic director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra for 25 years. Born and raised in Wollongong, New South Wales, he has established an international reputation for his compelling performances and artistic individualism.

    He began his musical studies in his hometown with William Primrose, continuing his studies with Alice Waten at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and later with Igor Ozim at the Bern Conservatory, where he was awarded the Tschumi Prize as the top graduate soloist in 1989. Later that year, he led several performances with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and was subsequently appointed as the orchestra's lead violin and later its artistic director. Mr. Tognetti is also the artistic director of the Festival Maribor in Slovenia.

    Mr. Tognetti performs on period, modern, and electric instruments, and his numerous arrangements, compositions, and transcriptions have expanded the chamber orchestra repertoire and have been performed around the world. As a director and soloist, Mr. Tognetti has appeared with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music, Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, and all of the Australian symphony orchestras.

    Mr. Tognetti co-composed the score for Peter Weir's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World starring Russell Crowe, as well as the soundtrack to Tom Carroll's surf film Horrorscopes. He also created The Red Tree project, inspired by Shaun Tan's book, and co-created and starred in the 2008 documentary film Musica Surfica. Most recently, he provided additional music for Russell Crowe's directorial debut, The Water Diviner.

    Mr. Tognetti was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2010. He holds honorary doctorates from three Australian universities and was awardedthe title Living National Treasure in 1999. He performs on a 1743Guarneri del Gesùviolin, lent to him by an anonymous Australian private benefactor. He has given more than 2,500 performances with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

    Australian Chamber Orchestra

    This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Renowned for its inspired programming and unrivalled virtuosity, energy, and individuality, the orchestra's performances feature popular masterworks, adventurous projects that span multiple artistic disciplines, and pieces specially commissioned for the ensemble. Founded by John Painter, the ACO originally comprised just 13 musicians. It has grown to include 20 musicians (three part-time), giving more than 100 performances in Australia each year in addition to touring internationally.

    The orchestra performs everywhere from the red-dust regional
    centersof Australia to New York night clubs, and from Australia's capital cities to the world's most prestigious concert halls, including Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, London's Wigmore Hall, Vienna's Musikverein, Birmingham's Symphony Hall, and Frankfurt's Alte Oper.

    The ACO's dedication and musicianship has fostered warm relationships with many celebrated soloists, including Emmanuel Pahud, Steven Isserlis, Dawn Upshaw, Imogen Cooper, Christian Lindberg, Joseph Tawadros, Melvyn Tan, and Pieter Wispelwey. The ACO is also 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.

    The ensemble has recorded for the world's top labels; recent recordings have won three consecutive ARIA Awards. Documentaries featuring the ACO have been televised worldwide and have won awards at film festivals on four continents.

    More Info

  • Sharon Kam 

    Sharon Kam is one of the world's leading clarinet soloists, having appeared with renowned orchestras in the US, Europe, and Japan for more than 20 years. Mozart's works for clarinet have been artistic focuses for Ms. Kam since the beginning of her career, including her performance of the composer's Clarinet Concerto in A Major with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Zubin Mehta when she was only 16. A short time later, she performed the Clarinet Quintet with the Guarneri String Quartet at Carnegie Hall. As part of Mozart's 250th birthday celebrations in 2006 at the National Theatre in Prague, her interpretation of the Clarinet Concerto was televised live in 33 countries and is now available on DVD.

    As a passionate chamber musician, Ms. Kam regularly works with artists such as Lars Vogt, Christian Tetzlaff, Enrico Pace, Daniel Müller-Schott, Martin Helmchen, and the Jerusalem Quartet. She is a frequent guest at festivals in Schleswig-Holstein, Heimbach, Rheingau, Risør, Cork, Verbier, and Delft. She is also an active performer of contemporary music, performing works by composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki, Herbert Willi, Iván Erőd, and Peter Ruzicka.

    Ms. Kam's versatility in a variety of musical genres-from classical to modern music and jazz-is reflected in her diverse discography. She has twice received the ECHO award for Instrumentalist of the Year. Her American Classics disc with the London Symphony Orchestra-conducted by her husband, Gregor Bühl-was awarded the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik. Her most recent recording is a CD entitled Opera!, featuring transcriptions of operatic arias arranged for clarinet and chamber orchestra. The release was accompanied by an inaugural tour that featured Ms. Kam with the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, conducted by Ruben Gazarian.

    In the 2014-2015 season, Ms. Kam can be heard at the Teatro Monumental in Madrid, Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, 92nd Street Y in New York, Kölner Philharmonie, and London's Wigmore Hall, among other venues. She will be on tour with her Opera! repertoire and as soloist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

    More Info


Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622 (Rondo: Allegro)
Sharon Kam, Clarinet | Haydn Philharmonia

At a Glance

SERGEI PROKOFIEV  Selections from Visions fugitives, Op. 22

Each of the 20 pieces that make up Prokofiev’s Visions fugitivesteems with a distinct, vibrant personality. With a range of contrasting moods from solemnity and boisterousness to wit and violence, Prokofiev’s phenomenal pianism is reflected at every turn. Russian violist and conductor Rudolf Barshai arranged 15 of the Visions fugitives for strings for the Moscow Chamber Orchestra during his time as the ensemble’s artistic director. The version on this afternoon’s program is a combination of the original piano work and an arrangement for strings by Barshai and Richard Tognetti.

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART  Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622

The Clarinet Concerto dates from the last months of Mozart’s life and stands as the last purely instrumental work the composer produced. Mozart took full advantage of the clarinet’s timbral abundance, including extended sections to showcase each of them—from the crystalline upper register to the husky resonance of the deepest—as well as passages that emphasize the contrast by requiring the soloist to quickly jump between registers.


Multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood has composed in a variety of classical genres. Water is the result of his collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra during his residence with the ensemble in 2013, inspired by British poet Philip Larkin’s short lyric poem “Water” from The Whitsun Weddings.

JOSEPH HAYDN  Symphony No. 83 in G Minor, “The Hen”

In the early 1780s, Haydn began to turn his attention away from his everyday duties with the Esterházy family toward a burgeoning international demand for his music. The G-Minor Symphony was thought to be so remarkably good-natured that its Parisian audiences dubbed it “La poule” (“The Hen”). Though the reason for this nickname remains unknown, it was perhaps inspired by a moment not far into the first movement, when the violins launch into an amiable new major-key tune that is arguably somewhat reminiscent of farmyard scratching and clucking.

Program Notes


This performance is part of Chamber Sessions I, and Magic of Mozart.

Part of