Austlian violinist and conductor Richard Tognetti has established an international reputation for his compelling performances and artistic individualism. He studied at the Sydney Conservatorium with Alice Waten, in his home town of Wollongong with William Primrose, and at the Berne Conservatory (Switzerland) with Igor Ozim, where he was awarded the Tschumi Prize as the top graduate soloist in 1989. Later that year he returned to lead several performances of the ACO, and in November was appointed as Leader. He was subsequently appointed Artistic Director of the Orchestra.
Tognetti performs on period, modern and electric instruments. His numerous arrangements, compositions and transcriptions have expanded the chamber orchestra repertoire and been performed throughout the world.
Highlights of his career as director, soloist or chamber music partner include the Sydney Festival (as conductor of Mozart’s opera Mitridate ); and appearances with the Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), Hong Kong Philharmonic, Camerata Salzburg,Tapiola Sinfonietta, Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Nordic Chamber Orchestra. He is currently Artistic Director of the Maribor Festival in Slovenia; the first festival under his leadership was held in September 2008 and featured collaborations with European and Australian musicians and the European premiere of Luminous.
As a soloist Richard Tognetti has appeared on many occasions with the ACO and with the major Australian symphonies, including the Australian premiere of Ligeti’s Violin Concerto with the Sydney Symphony in 1998. He has collaborated with colleagues from across various art forms and artistic styles, including Joseph Tawadros, Dawn Upshaw, James Crabb, Emmanuel Pahud, actor Jack Thompson, singers Katie Noonan, Neil Finn,Tim Freedman and Paul Capsis, photographer Bill Henson and poet/cartoonist Michael Leunig. In 2003, Richard was co-composer of the score for Peter Weir’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World; violin tutor for its star, Russell Crowe; and can also be heard performing on the award-winning soundtrack. In 2005, together with Michael Yezerski he co-composed the soundtrack to Tom Carroll’s surf film Horrorscopes and, in 2008, created The Red Tree, inspired by illustrator Shaun Tan’s book.
Alongside numerous recordings with the ACO, Richard Tognetti has recently recorded Bach’s solo violin repertoire for ABC Classics.The unaccompanied sonatas and partitas were released in 2005 to critical acclaim and awarded the 2006 ARIA Award for Best Classical Album.The concertos were released in 2006 and awarded the 2007 ARIA for Best Classical Album. The final installment, the accompanied sonatas, was released in 2007 and recently collected the 2008 ARIA for Best Classical Album. Future recordings include a set of Mozart concertante violin works and the Dvorak Violin Concerto for the BIS label.
A passionate advocate for music education,Tognetti established the ACO’s Education and Emerging Artists programs in 2005 and toured regional Australia with a concert based on the inspiring documentary film, Musica Surfica (recently awarded best feature at the New York Surf Film Festival). Richard Tognetti holds honorary doctorates from three Australian universities and was made a National Living Treasure in 1999. He performs on a 1743 Guarneri del Gesù, made available exclusively to him by an anonymous Australian private benefactor.