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Will Todd - The Call of Wisdom

Submitted on: 16 July 2012

We are delighted to welcome composer Will Todd as a guest on the English Chamber Orchestra’s website and blog.



‘Working with ECO and Tenebrae on my latest CD, ‘The Call of Wisdom’, was a thrilling experience. The singers and musicians, under the direction of Nigel Short, worked with great joy and professionalism throughout the recording sessions.



We were working at St Augustine’s Church in Kilburn where it was pretty cold, and the frequent accompaniment of lashing rain from outside held us up a couple of times.  Despite these climatic disruptions, Nigel and the choir kept making a beautiful sound, even on the final day; a day which went on a little longer than we would have liked! 



I’d been working hard to make string arrangements that would give a sense of lush lyricism, and the ECO produced a wonderful sound full of nuance and detail, to bring it all to life. 



Engineer Mike Hatch and Producer Stephen Johns kept the whole thing ticking along with a quiet confidence.



As well as being delighted that ECO has chosen ‘The Call of Wisdom’ as their ECO Saturday CD Suggestion this week on Facebook and Twitter, I am very excited that it will be Classic FM's CD of the week from Monday 16th July.



With new arrangements of the beautiful The Lord is My Shepherd, Stay with me Lord, and of course the Diamond Jubilee composition The Call of Wisdom, this disc is a great showcase for my recent choral works.



It was a joy to collaborate with such talented performers.’



Here is a link to Will Todd’s website.


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Classic FM – CD of the Week from July 16th, 2012

Submitted on: 16 July 2012

Will Todd's gorgeous new CD ‘The Call of Wisdom’, which we were delighted to record with Tenebrae, directed by Nigel Short, is this week’s ECO Saturday CD Suggestion.  The title anthem was commissioned and written specially for performance at St Paul's Cathedral in London, on 5th June 2012, in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen, for the national service of thanksgiving for her 60 year reign. 


Link to Amazon


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Naantali Music Festival - June 2012 - Pauline Gilbertson, ECO General Manager

Submitted on: 03 July 2012

We had lost count of how many times the ECO has been fortunate enough to perform at the Naantali Music Festival, which takes place every June at one of Finland's most popular summer resorts, on the beautiful Naantali/Turku archipelago - but the Festival's founder and artistic director Arto Noras confirmed that this is our 9th visit.

Our first visit to Naantali Festival was in 1982 with Vladimir Ashkenazy as soloist and conductor, after which we were regularly reinvited. It was on our 1999 tour that we first worked with the conductor/pianist Ralf Gothoni, who was subsequently appointed Principal Conductor of the ECO and continued in that capacity until 2009. We were delighted to be invited to make a return visit for two concerts with Gothoni this summer.

The 2012 Naantali Festival programme includes a broad selection of orchestral and chamber music ranging from Marais to Penderecki and beyond. The ECO's first programme was of music by Haydn and Schubert, including Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante with four excellent Finnish soloists: Elina Vahala, Samuli Peltonen, Paula Malmivaara and Jussi Sarkka. Our second concert comprised Elgar's Serenade, Philip Glass' first Piano Concerto (Ralf Gothoni directing from the keyboard) and Shostakovich's 14th Symphony (again with stunning soloists, Mari Palo and Nicholas Soderlund). The 15th century Naantali Church provides a picturesque venue and this year looks even more stunning than before, following recent renovations.

The Orchestra flew to Helsinki on 4 June and arrived at Naantali Spa Hotel after a smooth two hour bus ride along the forest-fringed, almost traffic-free motorway. There was no rehearsal that evening so we were able to take a walk along the picturesque coastal path into Naantali's old town and enjoy one of the many restaurants overlooking the harbour. The sun eventually set around 11pm but the water continued to sparkle in the ensuing twilight. Sleeping through the night here is a challenge for some of us, as light invariably creeps around the curtains to suggest that it is not really night-time at all....

The next day was a busy one, with rehearsals for the Shostakovich Symphony as well as for the first concert of Haydn and Schubert. Our London Shostakovich rehearsal had been for strings only, but the symphony now really began to take shape with the added percussion and two vocal soloists contributing to the emotion, drama and dark beauty of the music. For a few it brought back memories of performing this symphony in the early 1980s conducted by Rostropovich at Aldeburgh Festival, and we also recalled - before the time of any current ECO players - an even earlier Aldeburgh performance, the symphony's first ever performance in the West, conducted by Benjamin Britten.

Our first concert was also the opening night of the 2012 Festival. Finnish audiences are immaculately dressed and very well behaved, and this one hung onto every note. Haydn's Symphony No.49, 'La Passione', was followed by his sparkling Sinfonia Concertante for solo violin, cello, oboe, bassoon and orchestra in which the soloists' dialogue is often quasi-operatic.


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Leopold de Rothschild, CBE FRCM (12 May 1927 - 19 April 2012)

Submitted on: 19 April 2012

We are very sad to announce the death of the President of the English Chamber Orchestra, Leopold de Rothschild, who was a much-loved friend and supporter of the ECO ever since it evolved out of the Goldsbrough Orchestra in 1960. He will be greatly missed.

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News at Easter 2012

Submitted on: 12 April 2012

Concert highlights to date this year have included Tasmin Little as soloist in Hereford and Oswestry; Paul Watkins and Anna Hashimoto at Caodgan Hall; Derek Han at Southend, Cadogan Hall and Warwick Arts Centre; and two concerts in Cambridge. Members of the ECO also took part in a British Youth Opera gala concert of extracts from Acis and Galatea and Dido and Aeneas at the historic Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace whilst March brought a highly successful tour to Turkey and Bulgaria with Sergej Krylov, Plamena Mangova, Roy Goodman andCaroline Dale.

In the next few weeks we are looking forward to two concerts at Canterbury Cathedral (including Finzi and Handel with Mark Padmore on 28 April and John Tavener’s The Veil of the Temple in the presence of the composer on 11 May), a return visit to Newbury Spring Festival with David Parry (19 May), two concerts at Fairford Parish Church (25 and 26 May with Paul Watkins, Chloe Hanslip and Katya Apekisheva) and the start of our new season at Grange Park Opera (Idomeneo with Nicholas Kraemer and Madame Butterfly with Gianluca Marciano). 

Later in the year we eagerly anticipate return visits by a host of exciting artists including Maxim Vengerov, Sir Colin Davis and Kiri Te Kanawa. Maxim Vengerovwill be our soloist and conductor for a celebratory concert at the Royal Festival Hall on 1 October, in which the legendary Kiri Te Kanåwa will sing and prizewinning pianist Behzod Abduraimov will play a Mozart Piano Concerto. Sir Colin Davis, ECO’s Conductor Emeritus, will conduct the Orchestra at the Santander Festival in July and in Italy in September. Also making welcome return visits this Summer and Autumn are Ralf Gothoni, Sergei Nakariakov, Plamena Mangova, Maria Meerovitch, Jack Liebeck and Lawrence Power. Maxim Vengerovwill also perform with the ECO at the Rostropovich Festival in Baku, Azerbaijan, this December. Other tours include Naantali Festival (4-7 June) and our annual Music Cruise (13-20 October, sailing from Istanbul to Athens via Kusadasi, Rhodes, Bodrum, Santorini and Mykonos) on which our resident guest artists again include Maxim Vengerov and Kiri Te Kanawa

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Upcoming Concerts

ECO in Reading

30 April 2014 at 19.30 - Hexagon Theatre


ECO in Malvern

02 May 2014 at 19.45 - The Forum Theatre, Malvern


Newbury Spring Festival

10 May 2014 at 19.30 - St Nicolas Church Newbury


ECO Ensemble in Gloucestershire

23 May 2014 at 19.30 - Northleach Church, Gloucestershire

More upcoming concerts...
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ECO London Series
London Series
Maxim Vengerov will conduct and play in the ECO's opening concert of the 2012/13 season, with guest soloists Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Behzod Abduraimov. This special Celebration Concert will take place on Monday 1st October 2012 at London's Royal Festival Hall. See ECO concerts diary for further details.