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For millions of years, rivers shaped landscapes and sustained communities. In flow, flood and drought, rivers gave life and carried it away. In two short centuries, humans have begun to re-shape rivers. We build dams upstream to sustain our cities. We alter flood plains and vary flows. Downstream, the changes can be catastrophic.

ACO Artistic Director Richard Tognetti and Director Jennifer Peedom follow their acclaimed Mountain with this cinematic exploration of the waterways that have shaped our world. On screen, the rivers flow in rhythm and harmony with music from outstanding composers. The result is an awe-inspiring combination of timeless music, captivating cinematography, and distinctive narration from Academy Award™ winner Willem Dafoe.

The score features iconic works by composers including Bach and Ravel, music by Jonny Greenwood and Radiohead, and new original music by Richard Tognetti and peerless Indigenous composer William Barton. The soundtrack won ARIA & AACTA awards.

Performed live by Richard Tognetti and the ACO, alongside Jennifer Peedom’s astonishing visuals, the effect is even more powerful.

River is a visceral experience that is both dream-like and urgent. At its one-off premiere performance in 2022, reviewers said – River does not request your attention. It demands your surrender.

SMH ★★★★

  • River: film live in concert, featuring music by Bach, Vivaldi, Mahler, Sibelius, Ravel, Thomas Adès, Peteris Vasks, Richard Tognetti, Radiohead, Jonny Greenwood and William Barton.

  • Richard Tognetti
    Musical Director, Composer & Violin
    William Barton
    Composer, Vocals & Didgeridoo
    Satu Vänskä 
    Vocals & Violin
    Australian Chamber Orchestra
    Jennifer Peedom 
    Writer & Director
    Robert Macfarlane 
    Jo-anne McGowan, Jennifer Peedom, John Smithson
    Joseph Nizeti
    Co-Writer & Co-Director
    Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Ben Knight, Sherpas Cinema, Renan Ozturk and Pete McBride
    Principal Cinematography
    Willem Dafoe
    Nigel Jamieson
    Staging Director
    Damien Cooper
    Lighting Design