Australian Chamber Orchestra
Founded in 1975, the Australian Chamber Orchestra is a national orchestra with an outstanding international reputation for artistic excellence. It is a colourful and vibrant ensemble composed of some of the finest young musicians in Australia. The Orchestra consists of a core group of seventeen strings and, depending on repertoire, is augmented by specialist players and soloists to a maximum of 40.
The Orchestra's national program of activities is extensive and includes subscription series in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane, Newcastle and Wollongong. The ACO also plays in regional centres on a regular basis. This national profile is the direct result of the Orchestra's commitment to the goal of providing Australia with a world class chamber orchestra.
The Australian Chamber Orchestra is Australia's most travelled cultural organisation, having toured frequently throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America and the Pacific. It appears at major concert halls throughout the world including Carnegie Hall, New York; the Royal Albert Hall and Wigmore Hall, London; the Musikverein, Vienna; The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; The Kennedy Centre, Washington and Teatro Colon, Buenos Aries.
The Australian Chamber Orchestra has gained an international reputation for its recordings. It currently has seventeen compact disc releases, and a seven-year exclusive contract signed in September 1991 with Sony Music. The first Sony CD, released in July 1992, broke classical music sales records for an Australian ensemble and won the Australian Record Industry Award (ARIA) for the Best Australian Classical Album in 1992. In October 1996 the ACO was awarded its second ARIA for its recording of Peter Sculthorpe's Music for Strings on ABC Classics Under Capricorn label. This recording also won both the ABC Classic FM Record of the Year, Best Australian Recording and ABC 24 Hours Listeners' Choice for Best Australian Recording. Another recent release is an all-Italian repertoire CD, which includes Il Tramonto (the sunrise), a rapturous tone poem by Resphigi for voice and strings featuring the acclaimed mezzo-soprano, Lorraine Hunt. A recording of the Schumann cello concerto, made with Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey on the ACO's last European tour is now available in Australia on the Channel Classics label.
Th Orchestra's latest release "Scenes" - a collection of slow movements, including Bach, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Rodrigo and Elgar is now available - see the CD shop for further details..
Guest Conductors and Soloists
Over the years, the ACO has enjoyed musical associations with Frans Brüggen, Ton Koopman, Gidon Kremer, John Williams, Christian Lindberg, Robert Levin, Christopher Hogwood, Stephen Kovacevich, Issac Stern, Yvonne Kenny, Thomas Zehetmair and Steven Isserlis among others. The return of the highly talented and dynamic Australian violinist Richard Tognetti, to take up the position of Artistic Director and Leader in 1989, opened up an exciting chapter in the Australian Chamber Orchestra's artistic history.