Welcome to the Australian Chamber Orchestra Digital Residency
We are thrilled to be able to present this digital residency from the Australian Chamber Orchestra, which showcases the energy, flexibility, vibrancy and artistry for which the ensemble are renowned. International partnerships like the one we have the ACO are now more important than ever and we are so proud that they are our International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court. The ACO’s annual visits to the Barbican have provided many of the stand-out moments of recent seasons and, while they are unable to be with us in person this year, we hope that this treasure trove of digital delights will sustain you until the ACO and Richard Tognetti can be back with us again soon.
Head of Music
Indies and Idols
Tuesday 1 December 2020
In Conversation: ACO Artistic Director Richard Tognetti with Huw Humphreys
Barbican Head of Music, Huw Humphreys speaks to ACO Artistic Director, Richard Tognetti about the experiences of being an orchestra during the COVID-19 pandemic, discussing ways the ACO and the Barbican have approached bringing performances online for audiences and looking ahead to filling concert halls once again.
Profile: Australian Chamber Orchestra
Discover the best of the ACO on Spotify in our pick of their recordings, showcasing their genre-bending approach to programming.
Golden Age instruments of the ACO
Several members of the ACO have the privilege of playing an exquisite ‘Golden Age’ instrument. Explore their incredible collection and the stories behind them – and then find out how they were made.
Indies & Idols
The first concert of the residency was due to take place here at Milton Court in October 2020. In this programme the ACO perform the music of Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, The National’s Bryce Dessner, and American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens alongside some of the sources of their inspiration: Polish nationals Karol Szymanowski, Witold Lutosławski and Krzysztof Penderecki.
Witold Lutosławski Overture for Strings
Bryce Dessner Réponse Lutosławski
Sufjan Stevens Suite from Run Rabbit Run (arr Michael Atkinson)
Krzysztof Penderecki Three Pieces in Baroque Style: I. Aria
Krzysztof Penderecki String Quartet No 1
Jonny Greenwood Suite from There Will Be Blood
Karol Szymanowski String Quartet No 2 (arr Richard Tognetti)
Wednesday 2 December 2020
On Day 2 of the residency we turn to the ACO’s musicians and collaborators, finding out a little more about who they are and what they gain from playing with the daring ensemble.
William Barton in conversation
Widely recognised as one of Australia's leading didgeridoo players and composers, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist William Barton shares some of the fascinating stories from his musical upbringing and Kalkadunga heritage - and how he uses his music as a language to connect and converse with people from different musical and cultural backgrounds.
To have this common ground of music at the forefront of conversing with people from different walks of life in a concert hall scenario… The language of my honesty and my truth as a human being is what people will hear and feel when I’m on stage.
William Barton: 'Here is a photo with my mother Aunty Delmae Barton who I still get the opportunity to perform with on stage. As you can see here we are beside a waterhole on Calton Hills station about 80klms from my home town Mount Isa - a natural amphitheatre of the Australian bushland. Also a photo with my father the late Alfred Barton'
The viewfinder from Down Under
A keen photographer as well as a world-class violinist, the ACO’s Artistic Director Richard Tognetti shares some of his favourite spots and backstage shots from around the Centre.
‘I’ve been taking photos on and off for about 15 years,’ says Tognetti. ‘It’s something you have to keep at so I try to take as many pictures as I can of the people around me.’ He laughs: ‘Usually annoying them in the process.’
‘I caught [Violinist] Ilya Isakovich as he sets up his music stand during our residency in 2017. He looks really pensive and intense because I’ve interrupted his private space just before a concert – it’s a time when we musicians prepare physically and mentally.’
‘Satu [who is also Tognetti’s wife] does a lot of yoga. Here she’s at [Managing Director of renowned violin dealer J&A Beare] Simon Morris’s apartment – he’s a great friend of ours. I remember I was really pissing her off by saying “stay still for one moment longer” – and then I got the shot. Satu usually starts her day doing yoga. Increasingly as musicians we’re learning to become more in tune with our physical wellbeing. It’s really important, especially playing the violin – you have to be really aware of your body.’
Barbican Sessions: Satu Vänskä
Every handpicked musician in the ACO is a virtuoso in their own right, often stepping out from the orchestra to take up challenging and exposed solo parts. Here the ACO’s Principal Violinist, Satu Vänskä, takes advantage of our empty Theatre auditorium to perform Johann Sebastian Bach's ‘Allemande’ from Partita II in D minor.
Nothing Concrete: Richard Tognetti on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
In an archive podcast episode from our Composer Focus series, the ACO’s Artistic Director speaks to Edward Seckerson about the genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his last three Symphonies.
'None of us can imagine the sounds that Mozart put down from out of his head directly onto the score'
You’ve heard Richard’s thoughts – now listen to the Symphonies.
ACO Transfigured was one of the first concerts the ACO performed after the Australian coronavirus lockdown, recorded in September 2020.
Ricahrd Tognetti: ‘It was emotional... people feel, I think because of this communal thing – that’s what the live thing is isn’t it – it’s this sense of community’
William Barton Didge Fusion
Felix Mendelssohn String Quartet in D major, Op 44, No 1 (arr for strings)
Arnold Schoenberg Transfigured Night
Thursday 3 December 2020
To round off the residency we look back to where it all began in 2018 – the ACO’s first full season as our International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court and the orchestra’s most ambitious project to date…
A 70-minute rush of adrenaline; a safari into the sublime; a vertiginous voyage to the top of the world
Introducing Mountain – an epic cinematic and musical collaboration between the ACO and BAFTA-nominated Sherpa director, Jennifer Peedom, narrated by two-time Academy Award® nominated actor Willem Dafoe.
Soar across the world's great mountain ranges to live music from the ACO.
Australian Chamber Orchestra: Mountain
Watch the trailer:
Thoroughly Good podcast
Ahead of the 2018 residency, Richard Tognetti joined Jon Jacob on the Thoroughly Good Classical Music Podcast to talk about Sydney, London, and all the music in-between.
Barbican Sessions: Timo-Veikko Valve
In a break from intensive rehearsals during our 2018 residency, ACO Principal Cellist Timo-Veikko Valve found a quiet corner in the Milton Court foyers to perform Johann Sebastian Bach's Sarabande from Suite No 4 for Unaccompanied Cello BWV1010 in E-flat Major.
The Natural World
From the vast expanses of ocean and the myriad creatures that roam the land, to the beauty of never-ending horizons and mountains towering over them, nature is all around us. Inspired by the awesome scope of Mountain, we bring together our favourite music responding to our natural world.
Behind the scenes of Mountain:
The Australian Chamber Orchestra, led by Artistic Director Richard Tognetti, have made waves around the world with their explosive performances and brave interpretations, embracing celebrated classics alongside new commissions and adventurous cross-artform collaborations.
ACO StudioCasts is a season of eight high quality, online concert films, accompanied by premium content featuring Richard Tognetti, the Orchestra and special guests to enhance your understanding and appreciation of the music and the ACO.
Working with leading directors and cinematographers, the ACO have created these films to enhance their live performance offering and to provide a moving and musically rewarding experience for those who can’t attend live concerts. ACO StudioCasts are intimate, immersive and cinematic. They are a pioneering digital music experience.
The Australian Chamber Orchestra’s digital residency at the Barbican is kindly supported by the ACO’s University Partner, The University of Melbourne
Show your support for the Barbican by making a donation and help inspire more people to discover and love the arts.