Australian Chamber Orchestra – River


Presented by Australian Chamber Orchestra


A cinematic odyssey exploring the waterways that have shaped our world, in all their majesty and fragility.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra is one of the most acclaimed chamber orchestras in the world and is renowned for their inspired programming, unrivalled virtuosity, energy and individuality. Under the direction of Artistic Director Richard Tognetti, they take audiences on the adventure to create truly transformative experiences.

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 reshape 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.

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

Australian Chamber Orchestra is a 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 Musical Director, composer & violin
William Barton composer, vocals & didgeridoo
Satu Vänskä vocals & violin
Australian Chamber Orchestra

Jennifer Peedom Writer & Director
Robert Macfarlane Writer
Jo-anne McGowan, Jennifer Peedom, John Smithson Producers
Joseph Nizeti Co-Writer & Co-Director
Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Ben Knight, Sherpas Cinema, Renan Ozturk and Pete McBride Principal Cinematography
Willem Dafoe Narrator
Nigel Jamieson Staging Director
Damien Cooper Lighting Design


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.


This production is part of the following series: