The American

ACO – The American

Presented by Australian Chamber Orchestra


In this rich tapestry of American music, invention and reinvention are the warp and weft. There is balm for the soul and invigorating jolts of energy to raise the spirits high.

This concert opens with ‘Rising Sun Blues’, an English folksong imported to the American South. Its enduring influence can be traced as a thread through American culture ever since. George Walker pays lyrical tribute to his grandmother, a former slave, in his 1946 work Lyric for Strings, while Florence Price refracts the Black folkloric tradition through the prism of Western string playing in her Negro Folksongs in Counterpoint.

Music by contemporary giants Morton Feldman, Bryce Dessner and John Adams continues the work of remaking and revitalisation, culminating in the world premiere of a new work for electric violin and strings by American composer Samuel Adams for Richard Tognetti and the Orchestra.

The concert reaches a peak with Tognetti’s string orchestra arrangement of Dvořák’s sublime American Quartet, written during a rural holiday in America in 1893. Fresh, optimistic and full of rustic charm, this is music to warm the soul.

Australian Chamber Orchestra is Key Presenting Partner at Melbourne Recital Centre. For more information on the Centre’s Key Presenting Partners see here

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Richard Tognetti director & electric violin
Australian Chamber Orchestra


The House of the Rising Sun

John Adams
John’s Book of Alleged Dances – Selections

Florence Price
Five Negro Folksongs in Counterpoint – Selections

Samuel Adams
New Work for Electric Violin and Strings* – World Premiere

Bryce Dessner

George Walker
Lyric for Strings

Morton Feldman
Rothko Chapel – 5th Movement

Antonín Dvořák
String Quartet No.12 in F, ‘American’ – arr. Tognetti
Commissioned by the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Stanford Live.


This production is part of the following series:

Australian Chamber Orchestra 2022

In 2021 the ACO are presenting an ambitious season with more music than ever before, with a radiant series of live performances alongside cinematic and immersive concert films.