Benjamin Adler from ACO Collective - Interview

Benjamin Adler is one of the ACO's emerging artists who will be performing in Armidale on 31 August. NECOM recently interviewed him to find out what life is like being part of the ACO Collective and as a musician. 

  • How long have you been part of the ACO Collective?

I have been part of the ACO Collective for a little over a year. My first tour was with Pekka Kuusisto to Western Australia last April as part of my Emerging Artist year. 

  • What’s it like working with Pekka Kuusisto?

Pekka is a force of nature - or, perhaps, of the supernatural! I genuinely have not had the pleasure to make music with someone more energetic, passionate, creative, earnest, generous and inspiring! I can't wait to work with him again. 

  • How is the ACO Collective different from the ACO?

The ACO Collective is the ACO's regional touring orchestra. It's led by Pekka, and comprised of young musicians at the start of their careers, plus full-time members of the ACO who join us as section leaders. 

  • Why is it so important to expose regional Australia to Classical Music?

I believe the music we play serves a very important role, beyond just entertainment; it communicates with people and connects them - with the music, with us and with each other - sometimes on a very deep level. We are very spoilt in the capital cities to have this kind of music performed so frequently.  I am delighted to be part of a team that makes that experience accessible to a wider audience. 

  • What do you love about what you do?

Foremost, I relish every opportunity to connect with people through music; I think it's such a privilege to have the opportunity to communicate in the emotional and subjective realms in which the music we play operates. It's even better to do so with great company - I consider my colleagues in the ACO Collective not only wonderful musicians but very close friends. Tours with them are always such enjoyable and memorable experiences. 

  • What are the most important skills a musician can learn from playing in an ensemble like ACO Collective?

Teamwork is at the very core of an ensemble like the ACO Collective; that is, the awareness that each of us has a specific role to play, and that together we combine to create an artistic product worth presenting as a whole. The courage to seek and find a place in which that awareness can coexist with honest, unfettered expression is another very exciting skill that I am learning! 

  • Do you have any advice for Armidale’s young musicians?

Keep it up! Armidale has a wonderful music scene (based on my last visit two years ago!). Embrace the opportunities it provides and pursue your passion. 

  • What other plans do you have in store for this year?

I'm currently in London touring with my duo partner, pianist Will Cesta - we will be making our way through Austria, Finland, Switzerland and Italy over the coming weeks! We have more concerts scheduled in Sydney and regional NSW throughout the rest of the year. I'll also be performing chamber music in a festival called "Out of the Shadows: rediscovering Jewish music and theatre" when I'm back next month.


Tickets to see Ben perform with the ACO Collective with guest artistic director Pekka Kuusisto are available from

Government Associates