Acknowledged as “the finest chamber orchestra in the world” (BBC Two Television), the Chamber Orchestra of Europe was founded in 1981 by a group of young musicians graduating from the European Union Youth Orchestra. It was their ambition to continue working together at the highest possible professional level, and of that original group, eighteen remain in the current core membership of around sixty. The members of COE, selected by the Orchestra itself, pursue parallel careers as international soloists, Leaders and Principals of nationally-based orchestras, as members of eminent chamber groups, and as tutors and professors of music.
The Chamber Orchestra of Europe provides an excellent illustration of how Europeans can come together artistically to create a strong European ethos. It is the players’ wealth of cultural backgrounds and shared love of music-making which remain at the heart of their inspired performances.
The COE performs in some of the most prominent cultural venues in Europe including the Cité de la musique in Paris, the Opéra de Dijon, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt. Together with other major European concert halls, these venues form the backbone of the Orchestra’s European Partnership Scheme and provide a regular touring base for the Orchestra. The COE has a close association with the Lucerne Festival, the Styriarte in Graz, the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon and with many of the world’s most prestigious musical events, such as the BBC Proms in London, the Edinburgh International Festival and the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York.
The Chamber Orchestra of Europe works with many of the world’s most renowned soloists and conductors including Claudio Abbado, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Emanuel Ax, Lisa Batiashvili, Joshua Bell, Paavo Berglund, Herbert Blomstedt, Douglas Boyd, Semyon Bychkov, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Ivan Fischer, Julia Fischer, Hélène Grimaud, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Daniel Hope, Janine Jansen, Vladimir Jurowski, Leonidas Kavakos, Hanno MüllerBrachmann, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Sir Roger Norrington, Sakari Oramo, Maria Joao Pires, András Schiff, Valeriy Sokolov, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Mitsuko Uchida.
The Orchestra receives widespread and enthusiastic press coverage and has been acclaimed as “the finest chamber orchestra in the world” (BBC Two Television). The Chamber Orchestra of Europe works with all the major recording companies and, in only thirty years, has recorded over 250 works. It has won numerous international prizes for its recordings including three Gramophone Record of the Year awards - for Rossini’s opera Viaggio à Reims, Schubert’s symphonies conducted by Claudio Abbado, and Beethoven’s symphonies conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. The Orchestra also won two Grammys and the MIDEM “Classical Download” Award. The COE was the first Orchestra to create its own label, “COE Records”, in association with Sanctuary Records, a division of Universal Music.
In recent years, the COE has released a number of DVDs and, in particular, has developed a close association with producing companies Idéale Audience and Styriarte/ORF. Idéale Audience produced two DVDs of concerts performed at the Cité de la musique in Paris, namely Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, R. Strauss’s Metamorphosen and Bourgeois Gentilhomme Suite conducted by Vladimir Jurowski with Hélène Grimaud and Sibelius’s Rakastava, Valse Triste and Violin Concerto and Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy with Ukrainian violinist Valeriy Sokolov. The Styriarte, in association with the ORF (Austria’s Radio and Television network), also released two DVDs of the COE’s performances at the Styriarte Festival, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis in D and Symphony No. 5 (2007) and Smetana’s Má Vlast (2010). All of the COE’s recordings can be purchased on Amazon or downloaded from iTunes and Spotify.
To enable young people and new audiences to experience at first hand high quality live orchestral and chamber music, the COE has an active education and outreach programme designed for school, conservatoire and concert hall. The COE Academy was created in 2009 and each year awards full scholarships to exceptionally talented postgraduate students and young professionals to study with the COE’s principal players when the Orchestra is ‘on tour’.
The COE has been a European Cultural Ambassador since 2007 and benefits from substantial support from the EU Culture Programme. It also attracts support from other organisations, most notably from The Gatsby Charitable Foundation.
Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Gulbenkian Choir
Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Gulbenkian Choir
Gérard Korsten, Jean-Yves Ruf – Opéra de Dijon