Richard Tognetti AO

Artistic director & lead violin

Australian violinist, conductor and composer, Richard Tognetti has established an international reputation for his compelling performances and artistic individualism. He studied at the Sydney Conservatorium with Alice Waten, in his home town of Wollongong with William Primrose, and at the Berne Conservatory (Switzerland) with Igor Ozim, where he was awarded the Tschumi Prize as the top graduate soloist in 1989. Later that year he was appointed Leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and subsequently became Artistic Director.

Richard performs on period, modern and electric instruments. His numerous arrangements, compositions and transcriptions have expanded the chamber orchestra repertoire and been performed throughout the world.

As director or soloist, Richard 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 of the Australian symphony orchestras, most recently as soloist and director with the MSO and TSO. 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 the Director of Festival Maribor in Slovenia from 2008 - 2015.

Tognetti has collaborated with colleagues from across various art forms and artistic styles, including Joseph Tawadros, Dawn Upshaw, James Crabb, Emmanuel Pahud, Jack Thompson, Katie Noonan, Neil Finn,Tim Freedman, Paul Capsis, Bill Henson and Michael Leunig.

Richard was 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.

As well as directing numerous recordings by the ACO, Tognetti has recorded Bach’s solo violin repertoire for ABC Classics, winning three consecutive ARIA awards, and the Dvorak and Mozart Violin Concertos for BIS. A passionate advocate for music education, Tognetti established the ACO’s Education and Emerging Artists programs in 2005.

Richard Tognetti 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 Michael Ball AM & Daria Ball, Wendy Edwards, Peter & Ruth McMullin, Andrew & Andrea Roberts.