Swell Lines with Richard Tognetti of the ACO

To celebrate International Surf Music Month, we take a deep dive into ACO Artistic Director Richard Tognetti's continued deep-seeded reverence for the power and rhythms of the ocean, along with a close affinity to those that attempt to harness these rhythms - the surfing community.

In 2022, the ACO will embark on a transformative new era as it resumes its national and international touring activities with gusto. Artistic Director Richard Tognetti took a moment to reflect on the past 18 months and his hopes for the future - we share his poetic musings with you below.


Sometime in the distant past, a group of musicians trod the boards of concert halls throughout a vast, bare land; and sometimes they also played in other places in a world now distant. Then, eerily, all things musical were cut to silence under orders, strict, that the people stay away; and so the musicians were left to themselves, and memories of concerts began to fade.

 The dust gathered in the aisles where people used to walk, stirred expectant with their murmurings, and the halls were dimmed, and the seats were raised where they used to sit awaiting the music to begin.

The foyers stood empty where the people used to amble, brimming with sensations of communion; having sat side by side absorbed by sounds made by the group of musicians.

During the fallow period and as time passed, the musicians lost a sense of utility, but were checked by the support that flowed to them through the generosity of the people. And then with the passing of winter, green shoots appeared; people began to flow back to the watering holes, where beer and other beverages were sold.

 The musicians gazed from their windows; imagining too; imagining that they would be permitted once more to tread the boards and stir the thick dust that had gathered in the concert halls of the vast, bare land.

And so it came to pass that some of these watering holes were once more filled with the afterglow of performance. People once more would travel beyond, and into the concert halls, where they could flock and mingle and await the group of musicians to gather; and then we will strum and pluck and weave and conjure; once again.

Richard Tognetti
Artistic Director & Lead Violin

"Never would I have thought a lead violinist surfed passionately. "

- Tom Carroll on Richard Tognetti

Richard Tognetti Rests on Surfboard

photo credit: Nic Walker

Richard Tognetti Walking on Beach Rocks

photo credit: Nic Walker

Richard Tognetti Catches a Wave

photo credit: Nic Walker

Musica Surfica, directed by Mick Sowry and featuring Derek Hynd, combines Richard's two greatest passions - music and surfing - and is the project that launched his fascination with blending genres and experiencing music in a multi-sensory way.

Richard, a passionate surfer who grew up riding the waves of the South Coast of NSW, has long searched to capture the essence of surfing via his music, as he travels the globe collaborating with the world’s best surfers and musicians.

Richard Tognetti and the ACO’s 2011 film ‘Musica Surfica’ is a reflection of this search.

Help us celebrate International Surf Music Month by revisiting this film with us!


The Reef, a collaboration between Richard Tognetti and a collection of remarkable artists, is an extraordinary merging of music and film, delving into the links between surfing, the ocean, landscape and music. We're pleased to share with you an excerpt from this remarkable project.

WATCH The Reef

"Quite fearless, quite defiant."

- Derek Hynd on Richard Tognetti