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When the cello sings, we hear something akin to the human voice: sensuous, rich, profound.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra is one of the most acclaimed chamber orchestras in the world and is renowned for their inspired programming, unrivalled virtuosity, energy and individuality. Under the direction of Artistic Director Richard Tognetti, they take audiences on the adventure to create truly transformative experiences. 

When Nicolas Altstaedt holds the bow, the cello is all that and more, becoming a master storyteller. 

It’s been more than a decade since the young cellist burst onto the world stage as a BBC New Generation Artist, with his unruly curls, unorthodox concert attire and pure talent. Since then, he’s piled up musical accolades from the stages of New York, London and beyond. Now is your chance to see his ACO debut as both director and soloist. 

Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major is such an audience favourite, it’s hard to believe it was nearly lost to history. Found in a Prague library just 60 years ago, the score reveals Haydn’s gift for invention. For all his form and symmetry, Haydn was a visionary, breaking musical boundaries with each new work. Two centuries later, his influence is still felt in the music of 20th-century masters Xenakis and Kurtág.

Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations hark back to the classical style of Haydn from a completely different musical world. These enchanting variations for cello and orchestra are by turns virtuosic and lyrical, and will be performed in a new arrangement for cello and strings.

The spirit and jubilation of Haydn is matched by the thrilling energy and wistful defiance of Four Transylvanian Dances by the Hungarian-born Sándor Veress. Written as an ode to a home he could never return to, they remind us that, for all its Classical elegance, Haydn’s music was steeped in the same folk-infused Hungarian rhythms.

Altstaedt’s debut will showcase the many voices of his cello along with the vitality and dynamism of the ACO. This promises to be a very special collaboration.

  • Joseph Haydn (arr. strings)
    Seven Last Words of Christ (selections)
    György Kurtág (arr. strings)
    Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánszky (selections)
    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (arr. strings)
    Rococo Variations
    Sándor Veress
    Four Transylvanian Dances
    Iannis Xenakis
    Joseph Haydn (arr. strings) 
    Cello Concerto in C major

  • Nicolas Altstaedt 
    Director & Cello
    Australian Chamber Orchestra