The Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE) celebrates its 30th year of activities in 2011. Acknowledged as one of the finest orchestras in the world, 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 about 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 Alte Oper in Frankfurt, the Cité de la musique in Paris and Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. 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 Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon and with many of the most prestigious musical festivals in Europe and abroad, particularly the Styriarte Festival in Graz, the Lucerne Festivals, the Proms and Edinburgh Festival, as well as the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York.
The Chamber Orchestra of Europe works with some of the world’s most renowned soloists and conductors including, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Emanuel Ax, Lisa Batiashvili, Joshua Bell, Douglas Boyd, Semyon Bychkov, James Conlon, Ivan Fischer, Julia Fischer, Hélène Grimaud, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Thomas Hengelbrock, Daniel Hope, Janine Jansen, Vladimir Jurowski, Leonidas Kavakos, Sakari Oramo, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Maria Joao Pires and Mitsuko Uchida.
The Orchestra receives widespread and enthusiastic press coverage and was recently acclaimed as “the best chamber orchestra in the world” (Daily Telegraph).
Renowned not only for its remarkable live performances, the COE is recognised for the quality of its many recordings, and has won numerous international recording prizes. It is especially proud of its three Gramophone “Record of the Year” awards - for Rossini’s Viaggio à Reims opera and Schubert symphony cycle conducted by Claudio Abbado, and for the complete Beethoven symphony cycle conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. It has also won a Grammy, and the MIDEM “Classical Download” Award. Most recent downloads include Thomas Adès’ Violin Concerto conducted by the composer with Anthony Marwood, and Mozart Piano Concertos performed by Pierre-Laurent Aimard. At the 2009 Styriarte Festival in Graz, Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducted the COE in five unforgettable performances of Porgy & Bess, and the CD set of this production was then released to great critical acclaim. Other recent CD releases include Vivaldi, Bach and Mendelssohn violin concertos (nominated for another Grammy award) with Daniel Hope, Marieke Blankestijn and Lorenza Borrani, and Haydn’s The Creation, Symphony No. 96 and The Seasons conducted by Sir Roger Norrington, as well as Stravinsky’s Apollon Musagète and Pulcinella Suite under the direction of violinist Alexander Janiczek. Other DVD recordings include Mozart’s The Magic Flute directed by Kenneth Brannagh, Schubert’s Alfonso & Estrella recorded live at the Vienna Festival conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Latest DVD recordings, released in 2010, are the Ravel Piano Concerto in G, R. Strauss’ Metamorphosen and Bourgeois Gentilhomme Suite conducted by Vladimir Jurowski with Hélène Grimaud, Sibelius’ Rakastava, Valse Triste and Violin Concerto and Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy with ukrainian violinist Valeriy Sokolov.
To enable young people and new audiences to experience at first hand high quality live orchestra and chamber music, the COE has an active education and outreach programme designed for school, conservatoire and concert hall. In 2009 The COE Academy was created to cater for exceptionally talented students. Scholarships are awarded each year enabling a select group to study with the principal players of the COE when the Orchestra is ‘on tour’.
In 2007, the COE was appointed “Cultural Ambassador” for the European Union and as a result now benefits from invaluable EU support. Over recent years the Orchestra has also received significant financial support from The Gatsby Charitable Foundation.
Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Gulbenkian Choir
Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Coro Gulbenkian
Chamber Orchestra of Europe