Richard Tognetti AO

Artistic director & lead violin

“…it’s our job to bring the listener in through our portal. A numinous moment when, hopefully, we can make time stand still.”

Richard Tognetti is Artistic Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He has established an international reputation for his compelling performances and artistic individualism.

Richard began his studies in his home town of Wollongong with William Primrose, then with Alice Waten at the Sydney Conservatorium, and 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 of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and that November was appointed as the Orchestra’s lead violin and, subsequently, Artistic Director.

Richard performs on period, modern and electric instruments and his numerous arrangements, compositions and transcriptions have expanded the chamber orchestra repertoire and been performed throughout the world. As director or soloist, Tognetti has appeared with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Academy of Ancient Music, Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra, Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), Hong Kong Philharmonic, Camerata Salzburg, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Nordic Chamber Orchestra and all the major Australian symphony orchestras, most recently as soloist and director with the Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras. Richard also performed the Australian premieres of Ligeti’s Violin Concerto and Lutosławski’s Partita. In November 2016, he became the Barbican Centre’s first Artist-in-Residence at Milton Court Concert Hall in London. Richard created the Huntington Festival in Mudgee, New South Wales and was Artistic Director of the Festival Maribor in Slovenia from 2008 to 2015.

Richard was the co-composer of the score for Peter Weir’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, starring Russell Crowe; he co-composed the soundtrack to Tom Carroll’s surf film Storm Surfers; and created The Red Tree, inspired by Shaun Tan’s book. He also created the documentary film Musica Surfica, as well as The Glide, The Reef, and The Crowd. Most recently, Richard collaborated with Director Jennifer Peedom and Stranger Than Fiction Films to create the film Mountain for the ACO.

Richard was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2010. He holds honorary doctorates from three Australian universities and was made a National Living Treasure in 1999. He performs on a 1743 Guarneri del Gesù violin, lent to him by an anonymous Australian private benefactor

Chair sponsored by Wendy Edwards, Peter & Ruth McMullin, Louise & Martyn Myer AO and Andrew & Andrea Roberts.