Beethoven & The 21st Century - Australian Chamber Orchestra

Beethoven & The 21st Century

4 - 19 February 2016


NICO MUHLY (arr. strings) Part I from Drones & Violin
ERKKI-SVEN TÜÜR Action–Passion–Illusion
TIPPETT A Lament from Variations on an Elizabethan Theme
BRYCE DESSNER (arr. strings) Tenebre
SIBELIUS Rakastava
BEETHOVEN (arr. strings) String Quartet in F minor, Op.95 ‘Serioso’


Pekka Kuusisto Director & Violin
ACO Collective (formerly ACO2)

Finnish violinist and long-time friend of the ACO, Pekka Kuusisto, takes up his position as ACO Collective Artistic Director for this season-opening salvo of far-reaching music. His fellow countryman Sibelius rewrote the soaring Rakastava for strings almost 20 years after originally conceiving it for voices, inspired by a local legend of lost love, a tryst conceived in shadow hours, doomed by dawn.

Bryce Dessner’s Tenebre, with the recorded voice of his friend Sufjan Stevens, also emerges from darkness. Dessner is known to many as a guitarist with The National, as well as for collaborations with such artists as Nico Muhly, Philip Glass, Bon Iver, Jonny Greenwood and Steve Reich. Muhly’s Drones & Violin opens the program, a capricious musical conversation, alongside Erkki-Sven Tüür’s transporting Action–Passion–Illusion and Sir Michael Tippett’s vivid Lament from Variations on an Elizabethan Theme, all highlighting the “wayward genius and extraordinary sound” (The Telegraph UK) of Pekka Kuusisto, and ACO Collective.

The intense precision and riveting immediacy of Beethoven’s Op.95 ‘Serioso’ is a vital path to his late string quartets,  celebrated by the ACO across this 2016 season.

Limelight Magazine

★★★★½ "ACO's latest Finnish recruit gets off to a stimulating start."

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The Australian

"ACO Collective in safe hands with fine Finn...Kuusisto is familiar as a genre-blurring wunderkind with unfettered interpretative approaches that sees old repertoire treated with spontaneity and the new embraced with breezy enthusiasm." 

The Canberra Times

"The first ACO concert of the season brings great satisfaction: the cultural year has truly begun...Kuusisto has a stage presence that is simultaneously elegant and mischievous. With his balletic conducting gestures and expressive eyes, he led the ensemble into the exciting territory of modern works, classic masterpieces and a reimagined Beethoven quartet."

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The Herald (UK)

"The young Finn produced some of the most spontaneous and out-of-the-box violin playing and musical interpretation I have heard…what Kuusisto did with it all was fresh and unpredictable."

The Times

"Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, probably the most engaging maverick in classical music today..."

The Telegraph (UK)

"Pekka Kuusisto…surely has the most personal sound of any classical violinist now alive."

Free pre-concert talks

Adelaide Town Hall, with Eugene Ragghianti
Tue 9 Feb 6.45pm

QPAC Concert Hall, with Gillian Wills
Mon 15 Feb 6.15pm

Llewellyn Hall, with Ken Healey
Sat 6 Feb 7.15pm

Arts Centre Melbourne
Sun 7 Feb 1.45pm
Mon 8 Feb 6.45pm

Newcastle City Hall, with Ken Healey
Thu 4 Feb 6.45pm

City Recital Hall Angel Place, with Ken Healey
Sat 13 Feb 6.15pm
Tue 16 Feb 7.15pm
Wed 17 Feb 6.15pm
Fri 19 Feb 12.45pm

Sydney Opera House, with Ken Healey
Sun 14 Feb 1.15pm