maverick of classical music

Surfing and classical music? Don’t dismiss it too quickly.

My friend Cath gave me this rather interesting bit of information. Apparently, Australian Chamber Orchestra’s [ACO] lead violinist and creative director, Richard Tognetti, is a mad keen, life-long surfer. Forget the surfie stereotypes, because at the non-professional end of surfing – anyone can be into it. And he definitely is.

ACO's Richard Tognetti surfing

Having seen Tognetti perform with the ACO [prior to knowing this], I was bowled over by his virtuosity, passion and the ACO’s fresh approach to performing classical music. Live, they are incredibly dynamic and the music was transporting. Given his interests and unorthodox approach, Tognetti is considered a bit of a maverick in the classical music world

About his passion for surfing, Tognetti says: ‘It’s the ultimate Zen experience. I used to think I’d solve my problems going surfing, but it’s better than that. You can’t even consider them. You just get lost in a dream. It’s a brilliant release.’

But setting surfing footage to classical music? Well, Tognetti is into exploring the synergy of surfing and music, and makes this observation: ‘The whole genesis of surfing was somewhere between a performing art and a sport.’

And he’s made this synergy a reality. The ACO produced the documentary called Musica Surfica, a collaboration of surfers and classical musicians, and a performance piece, The Reef.  

[source quotes: Tim Baker ‘High Surf: The World’s Most Inspiring Surfers’, Harper Collins (2007)]