ACO Total Immersion Festival

What to expect at the ACO Pier 2/3 Total Immersion Festival

We’re inviting you to experience live music – and our ACO Pier 2/3 home – in a truly unique way.

Our ACO Pier 2/3 Total Immersion Festival, taking place from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 October, is an intimate and exclusive performance event that allows you to experience the visceral connection between musicians on stage and feel the music as they do.

Eight 60-minute Total Immersion events will run over two days at ACO Pier 2/3, with just fifty tickets available per event. The next day, on the Sunday, a special Sounds of Australia Family Day will pick up on the theme of immersion in a special all-Australian program, fronted by didgeridoo virtuoso and vocalist, William Barton.

“Ever since we moved into our new home at ACO Pier 2/3 last year, our minds have been racing with the new possibilities for experiencing music in these beautiful new spaces,” ACO Director of Artistic Planning, Toby Chadd, says.

Total Immersion brings to life the ACO’s three spaces by reimagining what a ‘performance’ can be, challenging the traditional concert format by collapsing the division between the musicians and audience. The Festival will reconceive how we hear and see live music, and it's also a chance to see backstage areas usually off-limits.”

Here’s what to expect.

Julian Total Immersion

1. You’re sitting in the Orchestra

Don’t worry. We won’t ask you to pick up an instrument and play. We’re inviting you to be amongst the musicians of the Australian Chamber Orchestra – and amongst our colleagues and friends at The Song Company – and experience the music they perform as intensively and viscerally as they do. You'll sit on cushions that have been dotted around between the musicians.


2. You’ll feel music in a brand new way

Unless you play an instrument yourself, and have done so in an ensemble or orchestra, it’s difficult to explain the matchless feeling of being immersed in music the way you are when sitting in an orchestra. Seated amongst the musicians, you will hear the intake of breath as a performer begins a new phrase, see the eye contact between the principal players, and feel the palpable connection between the group, all the while surrounded by music from all sides in the spectacular setting of ACO Pier 2/3. Incredible.


3. You’ll experience the hidden spaces of ACO Pier 2/3

Total Immersion takes place in three spaces at ACO Pier 2/3: The Neilson, our state-of-the-art concert hall; The Studio, our stunning rehearsal and performance space overshadowed by Sydney Harbour Bridge; and the Belgiorno Room, the glass front of which welcomes in stunning views of Sydney harbour. As you’re guided to these spaces, though, you’ll also get to see the beautiful hidden spaces of ACO Pier 2/3 that are usually off limits – the special backstage areas and architecturally-designed passages that connect the different parts of our home together.

Satu backstage, ACO Pier 2/3


4. Only you and only a handful of other people will get to experience this

With only fifty people limited to each session, Total Immersion is an exclusive event. You and up to forty-nine others will be part of a small group that’s guided through our beautiful ACO Pier 2/3 home – surrounded by Sydney Harbour views – to experience the visceral connection between musicians.


5. You can bring the family back the next day

Part of the ACO Pier 2/3 Immersion Festival is our special immersive Sounds of Australia Family Day, with didgeridoo virtuoso and vocalist William Barton. William will join the Australian Chamber Orchestra, led by ACO Principal Violin Helena Rathbone, to perform an all-Australian program that brings the visceral and unique sounds, landscapes, and stories of Australia vividly to life in music. The short program is aimed at young children, and the opportunity to see the instruments up close and engage in music-inspired creative play makes this the ideal opportunity to introduce the whole family to live music.

William Barton & ACO


ACO Pier 2/3 Total Immersion Festival takes place 27 – 29 October at our Pier 2/3 home in Sydney's Walsh Bay Arts Precinct. Click here to book tickets. Limited availability.