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Australian 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 and 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.
One of Australia’s most eminent musicians, he performs on period, modern, and electric instruments. His numerous arrangements, compositions, and transcriptions have expanded the chamber orchestra repertoire and have 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), the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Tapiola Sinfonietta, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and the Nordic Chamber Orchestra.
As a soloist, 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 Steven Isserlis, Pieter Wispelwey, Jack Thompson, Peter Garrett, Neil Finn, Tim Freedman, and Paul Capsis, as well as photographer Bill Henson and poet/cartoonist Michael Leunig. In 2003, Tognetti 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.
Alongside numerous recordings with the ACO, Tognetti has recently recorded Bach’s solo violin repertoire for ABC Classics. The album of unaccompanied sonatas and partitas was released in 2005 to critical acclaim and was awarded the 2006 Aria Award for Best Classical Album. The concertos were released in spring 2006 and the final installment, the accompanied sonatas, in August 2007. The accompanied sonatas won the 2008 ARIA award for Best Classical Recording, bringing the total number of ARIAs for Tognetti’s Bach to three.
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 benefactor.