Australian Chamber Orchestra

Led by Artistic Director Richard Tognetti since 1990, the ACO performs more than 100 concerts each year. Whether performing in Manhattan, New York, or Wollongong, NSW, the ACO is unwavering in its commitment to creating transformative musical experiences.

The Orchestra regularly collaborates with artists and musicians who share its ideology: from Emmanuel Pahud, Steven Isserlis, Dawn Upshaw, Olli Mustonen, Brett Dean and Ivry Gitlis, to Neil Finn, Jonny Greenwood, Barry Humphries and Meow Meow; to visual artists and film makers such as Bill Henson, Shaun Tan, Jon Frank, and Jennifer Peedom, who have co-created unique, hybrid productions for which the ACO has become renowned

Testament to its international reputation, the ACO undertook a three-year residency as International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court in partnership with London’s Barbican Centre from the 2018/19 season. This residency followed on from the success of ACO Artistic Director Richard Tognetti’s time as the Barbican’s first ever Artist-in-Residence at Milton Court Concert Hall.

In addition to its national and international touring schedule, the Orchestra has an active recording program across CD, vinyl and digital formats. Its recordings of Bach’s violin works won three consecutive ARIA Awards. Recent releases include Water | Night Music, the first Australian-produced classical vinyl for two decades, and the ARIA and AACTA award-winning soundtrack, River.

REPERTORY

2025/2026 SEASON

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Landscapes

Schubert’s single movement of the Quartettsatz opens a concert of diverse musical landscapes; John Luther Adams’ new work drawn from Australian cultures and geographies, Gabriela Frank’s Leyenda evokes the diversity of Andean culture, Pavel Haas’ String Quartet No 2 pays tribute to the mountains of his homeland.

FRANZ SCHUBERT (arr. strings) Quartettsatz

JOHN LUTHER ADAMS New work

Interval

GABRIELA LENA FRANK Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout (selections)

PAVEL HAAS (arr. Tognetti)
String Quartet No.2 ‘From the Monkey Mountains’

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Five Centuries

This program celebrates five decades of the ACO by traversing five centuries of music. The ACO is unique in the orchestral world in being able to play music from vastly different eras, whether baroque or contemporary, with the same expertise and spark. The ACO literally changes shape on stage as the program develops – from the spatially conceived work for three ensembles by John Luther Adams to the virtuosity of just nine players in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.3, and finally the whole orchestra coming together in Fanny Mendelssohn’s hugely virtuosic String Quartet.

This program offers audiences a kaleidoscopic tour through the history of classical music, including great names and some lesser-known composers. It culminates in a brand new work by the American Pulitzer-prize winner John Luther Adams, written in and inspired by the Australian outback, connecting the US and Australia through music in this ACO anniversary year.

HENRY PURCELL Fantasia on One Note

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL Concerto Grosso in A major, Op.6 No.11

JOHN LUTHER ADAMS New work

interval

RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (arr. Adam Johnson)
The Lark Ascending


FANNY MENDELSSOHN HENSEL (arr. strings) String Quartet in E-flat major

At the heart of this program stands Tchaikovsky’s soaring Serenade for Strings, a masterpiece that has earned a rightful place as an audience favourite through its irresistible melodies and open-hearted joy.

A different sense of rhapsody is found in the music of Arvo Pärt, whose Fratres is paired with the deeply affecting music of George Walker – dedicated to his grandmother, a formerly enslaved woman.  

Collaborations with composers outside of classical traditions such as Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and The National’s Bryce Dessner are a distinctive part of the ACO’s DNA, and in this program the music of American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens brings his trademark sense of humour and revelry.

Meditation, ecstasy and illumination: expect to find it all in this program showcasing the Australian Chamber Orchestra at its very best.

The ACO are uniformly high-octane, arresting, never ordinary.”
– The Australian
Supplementary & Outreach Initiatives

Alongside mainstage orchestral performances, the ACO offers a range of initiatives to foster deeper connections with audiences and add an additional element to a visit from the Orchestra.

 

GALLERY

WATCH

The Lark Ascending

Grażyna Bacewicz

'Tabula Rasa'

“The Australian Chamber Orchestra is uniformly high-octane, arresting and never ordinary.”

PRESS

The Four Seasons

"Radiating irrepressible joy and strong musical magnetism."

-The Age

Sketches of Spain

"This ACO collaboration was one of the musical highlights of my life”

-Sydney Morning Herald

Ilya Gringolts Plays Bruch

"Australian Chamber Orchestra provided a welcome platform for rarities and discoveries.."

-Sydney Morning Herald

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