Members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra © Julian Kingma

Beethoven and Bridgetower

Exploring the radical music of Beethoven and its influence

Thu 27 Oct, Milton Court Concert Hall and live stream

River

Powerful, provocative cinematic and musical odyssey through the world’s great waterways

Fri 28 Oct, Barbican Hall

Indies and Idols

The influence of 20th century Polish classical music on the boldest sounds in 21st century culture

Sat 29 Oct, Milton Court Concert Hall

Tickets £15 – £40 plus booking fee  

Thu 27 Oct – live stream tickets £12.50

Barbican Box Office: 0845 120 7550      www.barbican.org.uk

The Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Barbican’s International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court, returns to the Barbican for the first time since the pandemic for a three-day residency this Autumn.

Led by Artistic Director Richard Tognetti, the ACO is known for explosive performances, adventurous cross-artform collaborations and dynamic programmes that embrace celebrated classics alongside new music and commissions. They bring their trademark virtuosity and artistry to three very different programmes across Milton Court and Barbican Hall this October.

Australian Chamber Orchestra: Beethoven and Bridgetower 

Thu 27 Oct 2022, Milton Court Concert Hall, 7.30pm 

Tickets £15 – 40 plus booking fee 

Live stream tickets: £12.50

The first concert explores the radical music of Beethoven and its influence. At its heart is Beethoven’s titanic 9th Violin Sonata in A (commonly known as the ‘Kreutzer’ sonata and now also known as ‘Bridgetower’ after the work’s original dedicatee). The ‘Kreutzer’ dedication overlooked the contribution of the European-West Indian violinist George Bridgetower, a close associate of Beethoven, who gave the premiere of the work alongside the composer, with the ink rumoured still to be wet on the page. The premiere was a success and Beethoven signed the score in dedication to Bridgetower. Beethoven and Bridgetower later fell out and instead the sonata was dedicated to violinist Rudolphe Kreutzer, who most likely never played the work, and Bridgetower’s role was lost in history. 

In the concert, the sonata is performed alongside Janáček’s Kreutzer Sonata, itself inspired by a novella of jealousy and murder of the same name by Leon Tolstoy. Here, Artistic Director Richard Tognetti, who has arranged both pieces, and the ACO take both Beethoven’s and Janacek’s masterpieces to another level, expanding them for full orchestra. Also featured are Thomas Adès’ evocative Shanty – Over the Sea, music by 20th century musical pioneers Ruth Crawford Seeger and George Walker and to open the concert, ACO collaborator William Barton’s spellbinding blend of vocals and virtuosic didgeridoo playing. For two decades Barton, a proud member of the Kalkadunga people, has forged a distinctive role in classical music, performing with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic and London Philharmonic and most recently, Chineke!, creating new repertoire with his own compositions and with composers including Peter Sculthorpe, and playing at major events including the Beijing Olympics and at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli. 

This performance is supported by the Australian Government as part of the UK/Australia Season 2021-22, a landmark cultural exchange between the UK and Australia.

Produced by the Barbican

Find out more

Australian Chamber Orchestra: River

Fri 28 Oct 2022, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm 

Tickets £15 – 40 plus booking fee 

In River, the ACO provides live accompaniment to breath-taking footage of the world’s mighty rivers in a profound meditation on how water has shaped our landscapes and human existence. The ACO’s acclaimed collaboration with filmmaker Jennifer Peedom features an epic orchestral soundtrack curated by Richard Tognetti, featuring music by Vivaldi, Bach, Sibelius, Jonny Greenwood, Pēteris Vasks, Thomas Adès, Ravel, Radiohead, Mahler, William Barton, Piers Burbrook de Vere and Tognetti himself. 

A cinematic and musical odyssey, written by writer Robert Macfarlane and narrated by actor Willem Dafoe, the film, conceived primarily as a concert film, explores the remarkable relationship between humans and rivers. River follows similar performances of Reef in 2017 and the Barbican sell-out Mountain in 2018 and continues the ACO’s focus on the natural world and humanity’s fascination with it. 

Presented by Screen Australia and the Australian Chamber Orchestra in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the BBC. A Stranger Than Fiction Films production in association with Arrow Pictures.

This performance is supported by the Australian Government as part of the UK/Australia Season 2021-22

Produced by the Barbican

Find out more

View the trailer to River here

Australian Chamber Orchestra: Indies and Idols

Sat 29 Oct 2022, Milton Court Concert Hall, 7.30pm 

Tickets £15 – 40 plus booking fee 

Exploring how the kaleidoscopic dissonances and pioneering textures of 20th century Polish classical music inspired some of the boldest sounds in 21st century culture, Richard Tognetti and his Australian Chamber Orchestra perform music by pop-cultural icons Jonny Greenwood and Bryce Dessner face-to-face with the sounds of post-World War Two Poland – Szymanowski, Penderecki and Lutosławski, playing side-by-side with musicians from Guildhall School.

This performance is supported by the Australian Government as part of the UK/Australia Season 2021-22.

Produced by the Barbican

Find out more

Listings

Thu 27 Oct, Milton Court Concert Hall, 7.30pm

Australian Chamber Orchestra

Richard Tognetti director & violin

William Barton didgeridoo & voice

William Barton Didge Fusion 

William Barton Hypersonic

Thomas Adès Shanty – Over The Sea

Ruth Crawford Seeger Andante for Strings

Leoš Janáček String Quartet No 1, Kreutzer Sonata (arr Tognetti) 

George Walker Lyric for Strings

Ludwig van Beethoven Sonata No 9 in A major, Op 47 Bridgetower (arr Tognetti)

Fri 28 Oct, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Australian Chamber Orchestra

Richard Tognetti musical director, composer, artistic director & lead violin

William Barton composer & voice

Nigel Jamieson staging director

Damien Cooper lighting design

Jennifer Peedom film director

Sat 29 Oct, Milton Court Concert Hall, 7.30pm

Australian Chamber Orchestra

Richard Tognetti director & violin

Musicians from Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Witold Lutosławski ‘Prologue’ from Musique Funebre

Bryce Dessner Réponse Lutoslawski

Wojciech Kilar Orawa

Krzysztof Penderecki ‘Aria’ from Three Pieces in Baroque Style

Krzysztof Penderecki String Quartet No 1

Jonny Greenwood Selected movements from There Will Be Blood: Suite

Karol Szymanowski String Quartet No 2 (arr Tognetti)