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Australian Chamber Orchestra 2018 Season

Australian Chamber Orchestra 2018 Season

The Australian Chamber Orchestra's (ACO) Artistic Director Richard Tognetti and Managing Director Richard Evans have announced the Orchestra's 2018 season. Characteristically bold, ambitious and adventurous, the ACO's 2018 season will take audiences on an immersive journey that traverses from inspired interpretations of 18th and 19th century masterworks through to new music that will challenge the mind and ignite the senses.

For his 29th year at the helm of the ACO, Richard Tognetti will pay homage to some of the most monumental music ever composed, has invited some of music's brightest stars to make their ACO debut, and will premiere new music written by the world's most innovative composers. In 2018 the ACO will also celebrate the virtuosity of its own players, with ACO musicians including Satu Vanska, Timo-Veikko Valve, Maxime Bibeau, Ike See, Glenn Christenson and Julian Thompson performing as soloists in the season.

'The ACO is distinctive in its unerring desire to take risks, to push boundaries and to embrace the new," Tognetti said. 'To be successful in achieving this ambition, the musicians of the Orchestra must have complete trust in one another – not just technically, but musically and artistically; so the strength of each individual member is critical.

'In 2018 our audiences will have the opportunity to experience the virtuosity and musicianship of the ACO musicians first-hand, when many of our players take centrestage as soloists: from principal players like Tipi and Max, to some of our newest members, including Glenn and Ike who will together perform the Australian premiere of Anna Clyne's Prince of Clouds."

Opera megastar Nicole Car will give an exclusive orchestral performance in Australia with the ACO, in a program that celebrates women of strength and endurance, while cellist Steven Isserlis will reunite with Richard Tognetti and the ACO for a performance of Shostakovich's mammoth first cello concerto. Violinists Alina Ibragimova and Ilya Gringolts take on roles as guest directors for two programs of virtuosity and drama.

In keeping with their commitment to commission and perform new music that pushes the boundaries of convention, the ACO will perform four world premieres and two Australian premieres in 2018.

'The ACO's audience are distinctive in that they're musical adventures, who have a taste for the new as well as the established," ACO Managing Director Richard Evans said. 'The ACO and their audience will continue this journey through unchartered artistic territory, when the Orchestra gives world premiere performances of new music by composers including Elena Kats-Chernin, Samuel Adams and, in a special commission by the ACO, Missy Mazzoli, who will compose a work commemorating ACO Principal Double Bass Maxime Bibeau's 20 years with the Orchestra."

To open the 2018 season, Richard Tognetti and the ACO will join forces with the young guns of the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) to give an emotionally powerful performance of Brahms' Sextet in G major rearranged for string orchestra. This is an arrangement that is so rich, melodic and emotionally powerful that Richard Tognetti has termed it Brahms' -Fifth Symphony'.

Sonatas for Strings In a not-to-be-missed event, the ACO will give the Australian premiere of a bold new take on the monumental Goldberg Variations. Bernard Labadie's orchestral arrangement of Bach's masterpiece provides an illuminating transformation of the work while remaining faithful to its feel, an approach that resonates with the ACO's distinctive style. As part of a wider celebration of the Variations, the ACO will present the original solo keyboard version of the work performed by 2017 Helpmann Award winner Erin Helyard. This is a Bach celebration that juxtaposes the old with the new in an utterly unique and illuminating way.

The Orchestra will finish the year with a bang, in an all- Beethoven program featuring Richard Tognetti performing the composer's mighty Violin Concerto. It's been some 25 years since Richard Tognetti gave his first performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the ACO back in 1993, and he last performed it with the Orchestra 11 years ago.

'There are so many things to say about the Beethoven Violin Concerto," Tognetti said. 'It's the first truly vast concerto; the first herculean concerto. It was the first concerto to position the soloist as a protagonist against the tutti part. The influence it has had on the repertoire cannot be over-emphasised."

In addition to their regular touring season, the ACO will return to Hobart and Darwin for two special concerts. It's been 20 years since the ACO's last mainstage concert in Tasmania's capital and 40 years since the ACO last performed in Darwin. These concerts are guaranteed to reignite the senses and set sparks flying as Richard Tognetti and Egyptian-Australian oud player and composer extraordinaire Joseph Tawadros together take on Vivaldi's magnificent Four Seasons interspersed with Tawadros' original works, in an arrangement praised by the Sydney Morning Herald as -incisively brilliant'.

Tognetti Tchaikovsky Brahms
The Season Begins
1 February – 16 February

Alina Ibragimova Death And The Maiden
Schubert, Barber, Mozart
15 March – 26 March

Nicole Car
Sings Mozart and Beethoven Heroines
8 April – 24 April

Steven Isserlis Plays Shostakovich
Featuring Two World Premieres by Samuel Adams & Elena Kats-Chernin
23 June – 4 July

Osborne Tognetti Valve In Recital
DvorĖ‡ak and Brahms
25 – 29 July

Goldberg Variations
Bach, Stravinsky, Ades
2 August – 16 August

Transforming Strauss & Mozart
A Grand Musical Offering
8 September – 19 September

Gringolts Plays Paganini
The Virtuosic Violin
30 September – 8 October

Tognetti's Beethoven
Violin Concerto & Fifth Symphony
8 November – 21 November

Featuring Elgar, Walton and Sculthorpe
5 December


In keeping with their commitment to perform new music that pushes the boundaries of convention, the ACO will premiere new works by the following composers in the 2018 season:

• Missy Mazzoli – Concerto for Double Bass and Strings World Premiere Brooklyn-born Mazzoli's world premiere composition was commissioned for our Principal Double Bass Maxime Bibeau, in honour of his 20 years with the Orchestra.

• Anna Clyne – Prince of Clouds Australian Premiere Anna Clyne's Grammy Award-nominated double violin concerto, Prince of Clouds, has been described by the New York Times as -Ravishing'. Two of our newest stars, Ike See and Glenn Christensen, will perform as soloists in this reflective work celebrating musical lineage.

• Samuel Adams – Concerto Grosso World Premiere A new work by one of the most original compositional voices in the world today. Adams' modern retelling of the Concerto Grosso is a cocommission with Stanford University in the US.

• Elena Kats-Chernin – New Work World Premiere Following the success of Singing Trees, which Kats-Chernin wrote expressly to show off the exquisite craftsmanship of the instruments played by the ACO, she will once again amaze audiences with her unique voice.

• Bach (arr. Labadie) – Goldberg Variations Australian Premiere The ACO will give the Australian premiere of Canadian composer/conductor Bernard Labadie's orchestral arrangement of Bach's iconic keyboard work. A transformation of the original, that offers something refreshing and new.

• Cyrus Meurant – New Work World Premiere A world premiere by one of our very own: ACO assistant librarian, Cyrus Meurant, who has composed something especially for the remarkable musicians in the ACO Collective.

ACO Collective

ACO Collective combines musicians of the ACO with young professional musicians at the outset of their careers. Since the Ensemble began its musical journey in 2007, it has performed in more than 85 regional centres in every state and territory, all of Australia's state capitals, and has even toured to Japan. In 2018 this critically acclaimed 17-piece string ensemble will take in regional centres across New South Wales and Western Australia, showcasing the world's best music to a wide audience.

With the brilliant violinist Pekka Kuusisto as its Artistic Director for a third year, ACO Collective will perform repertoire as diverse as Purcell to Britten, Corelli to Kurtág, Bach to Gubaidulina, Stravinsky to Vivaldi, as well as a world premiere of a new work by Australian composer Cyrus Meurant.

National Education Program

The ACO's National Education Program is one of the strongest and most innovative programs of its kind in the country. We deliver engaging education events to young people all over Australia at every stage of their development, with the same commitment and energy we bring to the concert platform.

Programs in primary and secondary schools such as the ACO Music & Art Program, partnership with the Australian Children's Music Foundation, $25 Schools' Tickets and Schools' Concerts offer accessible and inventive ways for students to learn about music, particularly those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to do so. Our Penrith Youth Orchestra Program, String Workshops, ACO Academy and Emerging Artists Program offer string students the opportunity to learn the best chamber music techniques from ACO musicians.

The ACO engages with young people with disabilities through our ACO Move Program and also engages with students at the Royal Children's Hospital Education Institute, Melbourne and Worawa Aboriginal College, Healesville. In addition to these programs, the ACO Inspire Quartet tours regional Australia giving concerts and workshops.

For further information about the ACO's National Education Program, visit

Festivals and Events

In 2018, the ACO returns to two of our favourite destinations for our popular and intimate weekend-long festivals: the TarraWarra Museum of Art in the Yarra Valley (3-4 March) and the Vasse Felix Festival in Western Australia's picturesque Margaret River region (7-9 December). The ACO will also reunite with Egyptian-Australian oud player and composer extraordinaire Joseph Tawadros for special concerts in Darwin (16 June) and Hobart (13 May)



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