The Exuberant Australian Chamber Orchestra Returns To Cal Performances For Two Stirring Concerts March 22 And 23 In Hertz Hall

Concerts feature a United States premiere and Cal Performances debut of Alice Sara Ott

The ambitious and acclaimed Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO), led by its dynamic artistic director and lead violinist Richard Tognetti, returns to Cal Performances for two distinct concerts on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23, both at 8:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall. The ACO’s first Berkeley concert will feature German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott, who will join the ensemble for Shostakovich’s first Piano Concerto. On Saturday, Tognetti will play the electric violin for the United States premiere of Brett Dean’s Electric Preludes, concerto for electric violin, commissioned by ACO in 2012. The New York Times recently stated, “Intensity and virtuosity are hallmarks of this orchestra.”

The Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Friday, March 22 evening concert will be an all-Russian affair opening with Visions Fugitives by Sergey Prokofiev. Originally composed as a solo piano work in 20 short movements, the first 16 movements of Visions Fugitives were arranged for orchestra by Rudolf Barshai. Two works by Dmitri Shostakovich follow: the Piano Concerto No. 1, written for piano, trumpet, and string orchestra featuring Alice Sara Ott making her debut in Berkeley; and Prelude and Scherzo (also called Two Pieces for String Octet). Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s string sextet, Souvenir de Florence completes the program. On Saturday, March 23 the program spans from Franz Joseph Haydn’s vigorous Symphony No. 4, written c. 1760, through Brett Dean’s electronica-influenced Electric Preludes, written in 2012 for Richard Tognetti and the ACO and performed on a six-string electric violin. A second Haydn symphony (No. 49) and Antonín Dvo?ák’s charming Serenade for Strings round out the program.

Founded in 1975, the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) has earned an international reputation for performing classical masterworks and genre-defying modern compositions—often of their own commission—at the highest standards. Led since 1989 by Artistic Director and Lead Violin Richard Tognetti, the group has performed throughout Australia (where its concert series has some 10,000 subscribers) and worldwide on 50 international tours visiting 250 cities in the US, Asia, and Europe. The ACO is a flexible ensemble that expands or contracts to meet the needs of the music it performs; one constant is the traditional chamber-orchestra custom in which all players but the cellists perform standing. The group collaborates with artists from diverse genres, records widely, and has appeared on television and in film. Its education program mentors young players throughout Australia and operates ACO2, an elite training orchestra.

ACO Artistic Director and Lead Violin Richard Tognetti was born in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, and studied at the Sydney Conservatory in his home country and the Bern Conservatory in Switzerland. He has appeared as a soloist with orchestras throughout Australia, Europe, and the US, and recorded solo works of Bach, Dvo?ák, and Mozart. An Officer of the Order of Australia since 2010, Tognetti is also Artistic Director of the Maribor Festival in Slovenia.

Pianist Alice Sara Ott has performed at major concert halls worldwide since she was hailed as “Most Promising Artist” at the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2002 at age 13. As a soloist, chamber musician, and recitalist, the German-born pianist (her mother is Japanese) has appeared at many international festivals and played with top orchestras including the Kiev Philharmonic, the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony.

Tickets for Australian Chamber Orchestra on Saturday, March 22 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 23 at 8:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall are $52.00 and are subject to change. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at; and at the door.  Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets.  For more information about discounts, go to or call (510) 642-9988.


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