ACO Up Close


Saturday, April 15, 2023
7:00 PM
The Studio


Richard Tognetti, Artistic Director & Lead Violin
Satu Vänskä, Principal Violin & Voice
Stefanie Farrands, Principal Viola
Julian Thompson, Cello


Electric Preludes: III. Peripeteia


Five Movements for String Quartet. Op.5: III. Sehr lebhaft


Arcadiana, Op.12: VI. O Albion


JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (arr. Richard Tognetti)
Sonata for Solo Violin No.1 in G minor: II. Fuga


String Quartet in E-flat major: IV. Allegro molto vivace


Limestone and Felt


NICCOLÒ PAGANINI (arr. Richard Tognetti)
Caprice No.5 in A minor


String Quartet No.14 in D minor 'Death and the Maiden': II. Andante con molto




Alabama Song


There Will Be Blood: Prospector’s Quartet 


Three Pieces for String Quartet: No.1


Five Pieces for String Quartet: III. Alla Czeca



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PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please be considerate of others and turn off all phones and watch alarms. Photography and recording of any kind are not permitted. Thank you.

About the Australian Chamber Orchestra

The Australian Chamber Orchestra lives and breathes music, making waves around the world for its explosive performances and brave interpretations. Steeped in history but always looking to the future, ACO programs embrace celebrated classics alongside new commissions, and adventurous cross-artform collaborations.

Led by Artistic Director Richard Tognetti since 1990, the ACO performs more than 100 concerts each year. Whether performing in Manhattan, New York, or Wollongong, NSW, the ACO is unwavering in its commitment to creating transformative musical experiences.

The Orchestra regularly collaborates with artists and musicians who share its ideology: from Emmanuel Pahud, Steven Isserlis, Dawn Upshaw, Olli Mustonen, Brett Dean and Ivry Gitlis, to Neil Finn, Jonny Greenwood, Barry Humphries and Meow Meow; to visual artists and film makers such as Bill Henson, Shaun Tan, Jon Frank, and Jennifer Peedom, who have co-created unique, hybrid productions for which the ACO has become renowned.

In addition to its national and international touring schedule, the Orchestra has an active recording program across CD, vinyl and digital formats. Recent releases include Water | Night Music, the first Australian-produced classical vinyl for two decades, and the soundtracks to the acclaimed cinematic collaborations, Mountain and River

In 2020 the ACO launched its inaugural digital subscription ‘ACO StudioCasts’, a critically acclaimed award-winning season of cinematic and immersive concert films.



Richard Tognetti is Artistic Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He has established an international reputation for his compelling performances and artistic individualism.

After studying in Australia with William Primrose and Alice Waten, and overseas at the Berne Conservatory with Igor Ozim, he returned home in 1989 to lead several performances with the ACO and was appointed the Orchestra’s Artistic Director and Lead Violin later that year. He performs on period, modern and electric instruments and has appeared with many of the world’s leading orchestras as director or soloist. In 2016 Richard was appointed the first Artist-in-Residence at the Barbican Centre’s Milton Court Concert Hall and he was Artistic Director of the Festival Maribor in Slovenia from 2008 to 2015.

Richard’s numerous arrangements, compositions and transcriptions have expanded the chamber orchestra repertoire and been performed throughout the world. He curated and co-composed the scores for the ACO’s documentary films Musica Surfica, The Glide, The Reef, and The Crowd & I, and co-composed the scores for Peter Weir’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and the soundtrack to Tom Carroll’s film Storm Surfers. Richard collaborated with director Jennifer Peedom and Stranger Than Fiction to create the films Mountain and River.

Richard was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2010. He holds honorary doctorates from three Australian universities and was made a National Living Treasure in 1999. He performs on a 1743 Guarneri del Gesu violin, lent to him by an anonymous Australian private benefactor.


Satu Vänskä is Principal Violin with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Born to a Finnish family in Japan, Satu began violin lessons at the age of three. Upon her family’s relocation to Finland, she studied with Pertti Sutinen at the Lahti Conservatorium and the Sibelius Academy in Finland, and later at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich as a pupil of Ana Chumachenco.

Satu was named ‘Young Soloist of the Year’ by Sinfonia Lahti in 1998, and a few years later was prize winner of the ‘Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben’. From 2001 Satu played under the auspices of Lord Yehudi Menuhin’s Live Music Now Foundation which gave her the opportunity to perform with musicians including Radu Lupu and Heinrich Schiff.

Satu performed as orchestra leader and soloist in the 2018 London production of Barry Humphries’ Weimar Cabaret with the Aurora Orchestra at the Barbican Centre. She has appeared as soloist with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Arctic Chamber Orchestra and in recital at the Sydney Opera House and the Melbourne Recital Centre, opening their Great Performers Series in 2019.

She is the director and vocalist of electro-acoustic ensemble ACO Underground, and as a violinist and singer has collaborated with artists that include Barry Humphries, Meow Meow, Jonny Greenwood, The Presets, Jim Moginie and Brian Ritchie in settings ranging from New York’s Le Poisson Rouge to Slovenia’s Maribor Festival. Satu also performed as vocalist in the soundtracks and live performancess of Mountain and River, the ACO’s acclaimed cinematic collaborations with director Jennifer Peedom.

Satu plays the 1726 'Belgiorno' Stradivarius violin, kindly on loan from ACO Chairman Guido Belgiorno-Nettis AM and Michelle Belgiorno-Nettis.


Stefanie Farrands is Principal Viola with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Stefanie was born in Melbourne and began learning the violin at six before swapping to the viola at 16. She has performed extensively throughout Europe, America, Asia and Australia with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Camerata Salzburg and as Guest Principal Viola with the Strasbourg Philharmonic, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Australian World Orchestra, and many orchestras in Australia. She returned to Australia in 2015 to take up the role of Principal Viola with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Five years later, Stef joined the ACO as Principal Viola, a job she calls a “dream come true”.

Stefanie studied at the Australian National Academy of Music, where she was a member of the award-winning Hamer Quartet, before continuing her studies with Tabea Zimmermann at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin.

Stefanie has won numerous awards including the Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition and has been the recipient of the Freedman Classic Fellowship, which helped support her lifelong passion of commissioning new music for the viola. She has appeared as soloist with major orchestras across Australia, including the ACO, and in 2022 recorded and premiered Holly Harrison’s Hotwire with the TSO.

Stef has been a member of the String Faculty at the Hobart Conservatorium of Music and has given masterclasses through the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Australian National Academy of Music, ACO’s Emerging Artist Program and AYO’s Young Symphonists Program.

Stefanie plays her own 2016 viola made by Ragnar Hayn in Berlin.


Julian Thompson is a cellist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Hailing from Canberra, Julian is one of the most versatile cellists of his generation. For the last 17 years Julian has toured Australia and the world with the ACO, regularly performing in the world’s most prestigious concert halls and appearing on many of the ACO’s recordings.

Julian is in demand as a recording artist and his solo cello performances can be heard in films including Sherpa, Tanna, and Miracle on Everest, and the Sydney Dance Company productions ab [intra] and 2 One Another.

Julian recorded all of the solo cello Yidaki parts on the ground-breaking Gurrumul album Djarimirri, which was the first recording in an Indigenous language to reach No. 1 on the ARIA charts and also won the Best World Music Album ARIA.  In 1999 Julian won the Best World Music Album ARIA for the album Fyvie’s Embrace.

Julian is a Fulbright Scholar and completed a Master of Music Degree in the USA with Janos Starker and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi. He also studied at the Australian National University with Lois Simpson and David Pereira and at the Australian National Academy of Music.

In addition to performing with the ACO, Julian performs regularly with the Australian World Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and has appeared as soloist with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

Julian plays a 1729 Joseph Guarneri filius Andreæ cello with elements of the instrument crafted by his son, Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu, kindly donated to the ACO by Peter Weiss AO.


Upcoming Events


Australian Chamber Orchestra
Sun, April 16 at 2:30 PM | Bing Concert Hall

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Regina Carter
Fri, April 21 at 7:30 PM | Bing Concert Hall

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