chamber orchestra

The English Chamber Orchestra has been performing across the UK and globally for over 60 years and is the most recorded chamber orchestra in the world. From its beginning, the ECO has worked consistently with the most significant figures in classical music starting in 1960 with its first patron Benjamin Britten. The ECO celebrates and builds upon its tradition of maintaining the highest international musical standards, nurturing new talent and focusing on the ‘best of British’ music and musicianship.

The orchestra has toured the UK and abroad with artists such as Benjamin Britten, Daniel Barenboim, Dame Janet Baker, Colin Davis, Placido Domingo, Jacqueline du Pré, Kiri Te Kanawa, Yehudi Menuhin, Luciano Pavarotti, Murray Perahia, Itzhak Perlman, André Previn, Karl Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Georg Solti, Mitsuko Uchida, Maxim Vengerov and Pinchas Zukerman. Recent tours have included Bermuda, USA, Mexico, Finland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Slovenia and Austria, as well as concerts across the UK and at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Kings Place and Cadogan Hall.

His Majesty King Charles III has been the Patron of the ECO since 1977 and the orchestra has performed at royal weddings, birthday celebrations and other events including the first concert ever to be broadcast from Buckingham Palace.

In nearly sixty years the orchestra has made over eight hundred recordings, including three versions of the complete Mozart Piano Concertos (Barenboim, Perahia and Uchida) and eight versions of the Flute Concertos. Commercial recordings range from Handel with Raymond Leppard to Mozart with Jeffrey Tate, from Benjamin Britten’s last orchestral sessions to Nigel Kennedy’s first and from L’Oiseau-Lyre LPs to Signum Classics CDs. Besides working for all the majors and most of the British independents, they have recorded for Swiss, Spanish and Japanese labels and can be heard on the soundtracks of a dozen films, including Dario Marianelli’s prizewinning scores for Atonement and Pride and Prejudice.

The ECO is proud of its outreach programme, Close Encounters, which takes music into communities and schools around the UK and abroad. In 2019, the ECO became the Professional Orchestra in Partnership at Christ’s Hospital School in West Sussex. Over the years the orchestra has delivered some exciting and far-reaching projects including the Windrush Project, which welcomed children from various schools. The future promises a further expansion of the programme, bringing musical experiences to even more young people.

The 2023-2024 season has seen the orchestra tour to Turkey, Hong Kong, Bulgaria and Germany. Coupled with performances in the UK at Cadogan Hall and as part of several music festivals around the country.

Last May saw the premiere of a new work by Sally Herbert featuring the words of Sophia Thakur at Cadogan Hall. This coming Autumn the ECO will perform in the Bratislava Music Festival, Innsburck, Coesfeld as well as at both Cadogan Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Updated May 2024 TYB Arts.