Richard Tognetti and Satu Vänskä Star in Arvo Pärt's TABULA RASA

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Richard Tognetti and Satu Vänskä Star in Arvo Pärt's TABULA RASA

Despite the tyranny that spread from Soviet Russia through Eastern Europe in the 20th century, music bloomed and imaginations flew. This March the Australian Chamber Orchestra will perform the music of the great composers who emerged from these oppressive regimes: Russia's Shostakovich and Prokofiev, and Estonia's Arvo Pärt.

Arvo Pärt & Shostakovich sees ACO Artistic Director Richard Tognetti and Principal Violin Satu Vänskä take centre stage in one of the most intoxicating pieces of music from the 20th century: Arvo Pärt's Tabula Rasa.

Written for two virtuoso violinists, prepared piano and orchestra, Tabula Rasa has had a hold on music-lovers since it premiered in 1977 to a full concert hall in Tallinn. Pärt, who was in the audience, has since said of the premiere, "It was wonderful. It was so still that the people could not breathe or cough, it would disrupt. It was with me the same feeling. My heartbeat was so noisy that I thought everyone could hear."

Pärt is one of today's most distinctive and revered composers, and since 2010 has been the most performed living composer in the world. Tabula Rasa represents his first foray into his unique musical language, tintinnabuli, named for the Latin word for bell, which has reached a vast audience the world over and defined his work right up to today. His music extends beyond the borders of 20th and 21st century 'classical' music, with musicians as diverse as Björk, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and PJ Harvey crediting him as a major influence.

The concert will also see ten violinists of the ACO unite to perform Prokofiev's fiendishly challenging Sonata for Solo Violin in D major in unison, before the Australian premiere of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's short piece of resistance, Nymphea: Misterioso. The program concludes with Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony - a string orchestra arrangement of the composer's famous Eighth String Quartet - a searing and deeply emotive lament for the victims of war, that leaps from despair to attack to haunting acceptance.


19 March - 1 April


Richard Tognetti Director & Violin

Satu Vänskä Violin

Australian Chamber Orchestra



ARVO PÄRT Tabula Rasa
PROKOFIEV Sonata for Solo Violin in D major
KAIJA SAARIAHO Nymphéa: Misterioso - Australian Premiere
SHOSTAKOVICH Chamber Symphony (arr. Barshai)


Wollongong Town Hall
Thu 19 Mar, 7.30pm


Llewellyn Hall
Sat 21 Mar, 8pm


Arts Centre Melbourne
Sun 22 Mar, 2.30pm
Mon 23 Mar, 7.30pm


Newcastle City Hall
Thu 26 Mar, 7.30pm


City Recital Hall
Tue 24 Mar, 8pm
Wed 25 Mar, 7pm
Sat 28 Mar, 7pm
Sun 29 Mar, 2pm


QPAC Concert Hall
Mon 30 Mar, 7pm


Adelaide Town Hall
Tue 31 Mar, 7.30pm


Perth Concert Hall
Wed 1 Apr, 7.30pm

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