Australian Chamber Orchestra: Tiny Desk Concert

Set List

Ravel: String Quartet (1st movement)

Ravel (arr: Tognetti): Kaddisch

Tawadros: Oasis

Lineup

  • Richard Tognetti: Artistic Director, lead violin
  • Helena Rathbone: Principal 2nd Violin
  • Christopher Moore: Principal Viola
  • Timo-Veikko Valve: Principal Cello
  • Joseph Tawadros: Oud
  • James Tawadros: Egyptian Percussion

Classical music has a long and distinguished history in Australia, from the eccentric composer Percy Grainger to opera diva Joan Sutherland to the guests for this Tiny Desk concert: members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

This ensemble is among the most culturally current and agile in classical music today. Its young players are unafraid to take risks — or sport enlightened hair styles — and they delight in merging genres. On a recent U.S. tour, they played music by Handel, Bartok, Australia's amazing Carl Vine and Pink Floyd. The icing on the hipness cake is the orchestra's director, lead violinist Richard Tognetti. Last year, he and his surfing buddies were the subject of an award-winning documentary, Musica Surfica.

In this performance, Tognetti, his 1743 Guarneri del Gesu violin and an abbreviated version of the orchestra (five players) huddle around Bob Boilen's desk to prove they can really mix it up.

After a dynamic rendition of the opening movement from Maurice Ravel's String Quartet, Tognetti takes the spotlight in his own arrangement of Ravel's version of the traditional Kaddisch. That seamlessly slides into the song "Oasis," featuring the composer Joseph Tawadros on the Egyptian oud (lute) and his brother James with percussion. It all adds up to a stirring tribute to the unpredictability and vitality of classical music itself.

To watch last week's Tiny Desk Concert with Fanfarlo, click here.

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