Silence & Rapture

ACO: A history of collaboration

As we look down the barrel of a new collaboration with Sydney Dance Company, we reminisce about our rich history of cross-artform collaborations.

There are many things that make up the Australian Chamber Orchestra ethos; the essence of the Orchestra. Words that swirl around the ACO are ‘originality’, ‘virtuosity’… and also ‘collaboration’.

And we’re known for collaborating with artists of diverse disciplines. Throughout our nearly-five-decade history, dancers, filmmakers, singers, artists, photographers, entertainers and contemporary musicians have all united with us to explore new ideas and opportunities.

From Scotland Unbound with guitar virtuoso Sean Shibe — who often puts down his classical guitar for an electric — to River with acclaimed film director Jennifer Peedom, our 2024 Season is no exception.

River really underpins what we think is the most important issue right now,” Artistic Director Richard Tognetti said recently in an interview with Limelight. “Yes, we have to end the war in Ukraine, get rid of Putin, hope that Trump doesn’t get back in, but all of it pales into insignificance when compared to the issues facing the natural environment. They’re so enormous that sometimes I think the temptation is to throw up your hands and give up. But River is a hopeful story, a celebration you learn from.”

One of the other highlights in 2024 is Silence & Rapture, which not only features a program bringing together unutterably beautiful music by JS Bach and Arvo Pärt, but also brings artists from several disciplines to collaborate with us and with each other: the world-renowned choreographer and Artistic Director of Sydney Dance Company, Rafael Bonachela; extraordinary contemporary dancers from the dance company itself; and celebrated British countertenor Iestyn Davies.

It's not the first time Richard and the Orchestra have collaborated with Bonachela and the Sydney Dance Company, as you'll see below, but in 2024 the time is ripe for a new project with them: 

“Every time I see Raf – which is fairly often – I say 'come on, it’s time',” Richard Tognetti told Limelight. “So we gave him he playlist for him to respond to and now I can’t wait to see what he does with it.”

As we look forward to Silence & Rapture, we thought we'd look back and celebrate some highlights in our history of collaborating across the artforms.


ACO 2024 Season

Silence and Rapture 2

Collaborators: Rafael Bonachela, Sydney Dance Company, Iestyn Davies

Silence & Rapture, 2024

Richard Tognetti directs this mesmerising collaboration between the ACO and Sydney Dance Company that brings together music, movement and evocative lighting, with the sublime music of Arvo Pärt and JS Bach at its heart.

Collaborators: Nigel Jamieson & Jon Frank

The Crowd & I, 2022

An expansion of Richard Tognetti and Jon Frank's 2013 The Crowd project, The Crowd and I is a visual and musical feast exploring how and why humans react in crowds, and how a sudden disappearance of crowds can change the face of the planet.
River i_Credit Nic Walker_2MB

Collaborators: Jennifer Peedom, Willem Dafoe, William Barton

River, 2021

Following their collaboration for Mountain, Richard Tognetti and director Jennifer Peedom turned their attention in 2021 to River, a documentary exploring the power and fragility of the waterways of our world. Touring in 2024 after 2021 cancellations.
ACO Mountain

Collaborators: Jennifer Peedom, Willem Dafoe

Mountain, 2017

Mountain is a film exploring the human obsession with high places and how they have come to capture our imagination, by Richard Tognetti and director Jennifer Peedom. It's one of the highest-grossing Australian documentaries of all time.

Collaborators: Barry Humphries, Meow Meow

Weimar Cabaret, 2016

In 2013, the Orchestra joined forces with cabaret performer Meow Meow for Barry Humphries’ Weimar Cabaret - to great acclaim and five-star reviews. An opportunity to stretch out into our humorous side.
A still of Sydney Dance Company Dancers mid-air

Collaborators: Sydney Dance Company, Katie Noonan, Toni Maticevski

Illuminated, 2015

Featuring the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Dance Company, singer Katie Noonan and costume design from Helpmann Award–winner Toni Maticevski, Illuminated from 2015 brings together dance and captivating live music.
Reflections on Gallipoli

Collaborators: Nigel Jamieson, Neil Armfield

Reflections on Gallipoli, 2015

Richard Tognetti, Nigel Jamieson, and one of Australia’s greatest storytellers, Neil Armfield join forces to present a heartfelt exploration of our ANZAC story through music, spoken text and visual imagery. Featuring music by Vaughan Williams, Elgar and more.
2012 Richard Tognetti The Reef

Collaborators: Jon Frank, Ningaloo Reef surfers

Reef, 2012

In 2012, Richard Tognetti visited surfers in Ningaloo Reef, WA, and filmed two weeks of surfing and music-making with cinematographer Jon Frank. The Reef is Frank’s shots of ocean, dessert, skies and surfers, with an incredible ACO soundtrack.
Rafael Banachela

Collaborators: Rafael Bonachela, Sydney Dance Company

Project Rameau, 2012

Rafael Bonachela and Richard Tognetti’s stunning collaboration Project Rameau brings Jean-Philippe Rameau’s dazzling Baroque ballet and opera music roaring into the 21st century. The premiere season played to packed theatres and critical acclaim.
One of Bill Henson's portraits, depicting a girl who appears to be floating above a field of lights

Collaborator: Bill Henson

Luminous, 2005

Our 2005 collaboration with artist Bill Henson, Luminous, is a ground-breaking, cross-genre experience. It features Henson’s haunting, dramatic photography coupled with music spanning Britten, Janáček, Vasks and R.E.M..

Our 2024 Season, featuring several thrilling collaborations, is on sale now. Click here to explore the season, and renew or subscribe.

Click here to discover more ACO collaborations.