Nicolas Altstaedt

Altstaedt Plays Haydn & Tchaikovsky

The world-renowned cellist and master storyteller makes his ACO debut as soloist and guest director.

Touring to Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Tickets from $49, or $35 for under 35s and $25 for students.

Altstaedt has technique to burn, near perfect intonation, superb control of extreme registers and harmonics… so impeccable his rhythmic nuance, that one hung on every note as if they were the words of a master storyteller.“ – The Australian

When the cello sings, we hear something akin to the human voice: sensuous, rich, profound. When German-French cellist Nicolas Altstaedt holds the bow, the cello is all that and more, becoming a master storyteller. It’s been more than a decade since the young cellist burst onto the world stage as a BBC New Generation Artist, with his unruly curls, unorthodox concert attire and pure talent. Since then, he’s piled up musical accolades from the stages of New York, London and beyond. Now is your chance to see his ACO debut as both director and soloist.

Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major is such an audience favourite, it’s hard to believe it was nearly lost to history. Found in a Prague library just 60 years ago, the score reveals Haydn’s gift for invention. For all his form and symmetry, Haydn was a visionary, breaking musical boundaries with each new work. Two centuries later, his influence is still felt in the music of 20th-century masters Xenakis and Kurtág.

Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations hark back to the classical style of Haydn from a completely different musical world. These enchanting variations for cello and orchestra are by turns virtuosic and lyrical, and will be performed in a new arrangement for cello and strings. The spirit and jubilation of Haydn is matched by the thrilling energy and wistful defiance of Four Transylvanian Dances by the Hungarian-born Sándor Veress. Written as an ode to a home he could never return to, they remind us that, for all its Classical elegance, Haydn’s music was steeped in the same folk-infused Hungarian rhythms.

Altstaedt’s debut will showcase the many voices of his cello along with the vitality and dynamism of the ACO. This promises to be a very special collaboration.


JOSEPH HAYDN (arr. strings) Seven Last Words of Christ (selections)
GYÖRGY KURTÁG (arr. strings) Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánszky (selections)
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (arr. strings) Rococo Variations
SÁNDOR VERESS Four Transylvanian Dances
JOSEPH HAYDN (arr. strings) Cello Concerto in C major


CONCERT duration
Approx. 2 hours, including interval
Playlist by the ACO
Listen to Altstaedt plays Haydn & Tchaikovsky
Pre-concert talk times

Fri 14 Jun, 7:15pm

Mon 17 Jun, 6:15pm

Tue 18 Jun, 7:15pm

Thu 20 Jun, 6:15pm

Sat 29 Jun, 6:15pm

Fri 21 Jun, 6:45pm

Sun 23 Jun, 1:45pm

Mon 24 Jun, 6:45pm

Tue 25 Jun, 6:45pm

Wed 26 Jun, 6:45pm

Sun 30 Jun, 1:15pm

Nicolas Altstaedt


Meet Nicolas Altstaedt

German-French Nicolas Altstaedt is revered for his powerful interpretations and brilliant technique. In 2024, we invite him to guest direct the Orchestra in music by Haydn and Tchaikovsky.
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