The sound of Australia

With their mohawks, love of surfing and unusual repertoire the musicians of the Australian Chamber Orchestra stand out—but, argues Alexandra Coghlan, they are interested in music, not gimmicks

By Alexandra Coghlan   188

Richard Tognetti leading the ACO: their technical dynamism makes this small band the equal of Europe’s most respected orchestras

Speaking to Richard Tognetti, artistic director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, ahead of the group’s concert at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on 29th November, he tells me a story. Walking around Oxford on the orchestra’s British tour in 1989 he stopped an elderly don to ask for a good local restaurant. Detecting an accent, the man asked Tognetti what he was doing in England. On being told, he laughed. “An orchestra from Australia—that sounds like a contradiction in terms.”

It’s not…

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