Tognetti Wins 2017 J C Williamson Award

Richard Tognetti wins the 2017 J C Williamson Award
Richard Tognetti wins the 2017 J C Williamson Award

The 2017 J C Williamson Award® has been awarded to Richard Tognetti AO, Artistic Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Andrew Kay AM, President of Live Performance Australia made the announcement about the prestigious national live performance industry accolade at a rehearsal of the ACO this week.

The Award will be presented to Richard Tognetti at the 2017 Helpmann Awards Ceremony on Monday 24 July at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney.

The JC Williamson Award is presented to an individual in recognition of their lengthy and outstanding contribution to the live performance industry, to the enrichment of Australia’s live performance culture and its future betterment.

As Artistic Director of Australian Chamber Orchestra for the past 27 years and an award-winning violinist, Richard Tognetti exemplifies the spirit of this award said Andrew Kay. It is not the first accolade for the musician. In 2010. Tognetti was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to music through leadership of the ACO, as an internationally acclaimed violinist, through the development and promotion of educational programs for children, support for emerging artists and contributions to charitable organisations. He holds honorary doctorates from three Australian universities and was made a National Living Treasure in 1999.

Richard Tognetti said: “It came as a big surprise to be nominated for this award. I thought this award was for luminaries and I don’t consider myself one of those. I was 10 years old and living in Wollongong when the Australian Chamber Orchestra was cleaved by John Painter and company out of the rock face of what was then the collection of ABC orchestras. The ACO was created with the purpose of giving musicians control over their musical destiny – just 13 of them in the beginning. And now, 42 years later, there are 17 of us and I have been fortunate enough to be Artistic Director of this remarkable group of musicians since 1990. I consider this an award to all my colleagues, not just at the ACO but my many and diverse collaborators over the years”.

Violinist, conductor and composer Richard Tognetti, was born in Canberra and raised in Wollongong. He began his studies in his home town with William Primrose, then with Alice Waten at the Sydney Conservatorium, and Igor Ozim at the Bern Conservatory, where he was awarded the Tschumi Prize as the top graduate soloist in 1989.

Later that year Tognetti led several performances of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and in November, was appointed as the Orchestra’s lead violin and, subsequently, Artistic Director. Under his leadership, the orchestra has earned a reputation as one of the leading chamber orchestras in the world. Additionally, Tognetti was Artistic Director of the Festival Maribor in Slovenia from 2008 to 2015.

Richard Tognetti performs on period, modern and electric instruments and his numerous arrangements, compositions and transcriptions have expanded the chamber orchestra repertoire and been performed throughout the world. As director or soloist, he has appeared with the elite chamber and symphonic ensembles in Australia and around the world, amongst them the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Academy of Ancient Music. Recently he performed as soloist and director with the Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras. He also performed the Australian premieres of Ligeti’s Violin Concerto and Lutosławski’s Partita. In November last year, he was London’s Barbican Centre’s first Artist-in-Residence at Milton Court Concert Hall.

However, Tognetti’s work reaches beyond the concert hall. He was co-composer of the score for Peter Weir’s movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World; he co-composed the soundtrack to Tom Carroll’s surf film Storm Surfers; and created The Red Tree, inspired by Shaun Tan’s book. He also created the documentary film Musica Surfica, as well as The Glide, The Reef, and The Crowd.

The 2017 Helpmann Awards will be broadcast live on Foxtel Arts and webcast free via

Tickets for the 17th Annual Helpmann Awards are available now from Ticketmaster.

Gold Star Package – Show and After Party Ticket $175*/ Show only Ticket $55* / *Subject to availability/ An additional handling fee of $8.55 is applicable to all online bookings per transaction.


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