Latest News from the ECO

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Close Encounters: Brass Masterclasses in Canterbury

Submitted on: 20 February 2013

On February 14th 2013, ECO players returned to St. Edmund's School in Canterbury, Kent, for a Brass Masterclass as part of our Close Encounters education and outreach programme. The day consisted of rehearsals and masterclasses with ECO brass players and students from St. Edmund's School, and was a superb experience of music-making and learning. A huge thank you to all the staff and students at the school!

Click here to see the Director of Music's review and photos

Our next Close Encounters project to watch out for:

5th - 7th March 2013: Spring Fever
3 days of workshops with primary schools in Kent, culminating in a concert in Canterbury Cathedral on March 7th, 7:30pm

For more information on our Close Encounters programme, contact

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Spring Newsletter and upcoming offers

Submitted on: 05 February 2013

We have sent out our latest Spring Newsletter, containing updates, reviews and photos of our recent events.

Read it here

It also contains information about our upcoming concert on February 15th in St. Barnabas Church, Ealing. We are excited to offer ECO Patrons, Circle members and mailing list subscribers a 20% discount, as well as tickets of £15 for students. This is an amazing offer for a world-class concert starring Tasmin Little in Britten's Violin Concerto

Buy reduced tickets here

For more information on the newsletter and tickets for the February 15th, contact

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Princeton: home after a wonderful trip

Submitted on: 21 January 2013

We were lucky to arrive at Heathrow on schedule on Saturday evening (19 January), despite snow having disrupted any flights.

Our conductor for the trip was American-born Mark Laycock, who has had long associations with the Princeton Symphony and New Jersey Symphony orchestras and who is now resident in Berlin. Maestro Laycock chose a programme of music which has personal significance to our charming hosts, Mr and Mrs William H, Scheide. Bill Scheide is a musician, philanthropist and humanitarian whose extensive library includes first editions of several of the works we performed in this special concert celebrating his 99th birthday. He and his wife Judy generously invited the ECO to visit their home and view some of their special acquisitions, and he even treated one group of musicians to an impromptu Bach piano recital (at the age of 99 he still practises almost every day... a magnificent example to us all!).

Princeton University's Richardson Auditorium provided a splendid venue for our performances of Bax's 'Dance in the Sunlight' (from Three Pieces for Small Orchestra), Vivaldi's 'Winter' from the Four Seasons (director/soloist Stephanie Gonley), Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (narrated by actor Malcolm Gets) and Beethoven's Symphony. No. 5. The concert was enormously enjoyed by musicians and capacity audience alike.  
The post-concert reception offered an opportunity for players to mix with sponsors and audience members, and was followed by a party at our hotel (again hosted by the remarkable Judy Scheide) after which we snatched two hours sleep before setting off for Newark Airport at 4am.  

A very happy trip, a lovely concert, an opportunity to meet some wonderful people.  We send heartfelt thank yous to all who made it possible!

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\'The Young Person\'s Guide to the Orchestra\' in Princeton, USA

Submitted on: 18 January 2013

The ECO arrived in a chilly Princeton yesterday for a 3-day visit. The 65-strong group, one of our largest orchestras ever, will be performing Britten's 'Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra' (amongst other pieces) tonight at the Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University. They have been rehearsing in earnest (see picture, left). Here is an extract from the press release:

'Musician, philanthropist and humanitarian William H. Scheide will celebrate his 99th birthday on Friday, January 18, 2013 by sponsoring "Forever Young", a concert featuring the beautiful sounds of classical music greats Bax, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Britten, and others. This concert will feature the English Chamber Orchestra - the most recorded chamber orchestra in the world.

Maestro Mark Laycock - the Scheide's favourite conductor - will return to Princeton to lead the orchestra. The stage will be shared by violin soloist Stephanie Gonley, one of the leading British violinists of her generation, Tony award nominee and narrator Malcolm Gets, and local pianist Andrew Sun, who performed the 2012 premiere of the recently discovered 'Albumblatt' by Johannes Brahms to a delighted crowd at last year's benefit concert'

Here's to a successful concert and safe return home through the snow. Watch this space!

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A Very Britten New Year: the ECO in a special film by Tony Palmer

Submitted on: 04 January 2013

Happy New Year from the ECO!

2013 - Britten's centenary year - begins in earnest as ECO feature in a performance of Britten, for a film by the director Tony Palmer. The orchestra will be recording extracts from Britten's War Requiem, A Ceremony of Carols and Nocturne with tenor Allan Clayton and conductor Paul Watkins. We look forward to working again with Tony Palmer, with whom we have made many films about Britten, including those mentioned below. Here are some excerpts from the press release: 

'The centenary of Benjamin Britten will be marked in November 2013 on Sky Arts with a new study by the multi-award-winning director Tony Palmer.  It is a dark coda to Palmer’s four other films with and about Britten, whom many regard as the greatest British composer since Purcell.'

'Focussing primarily on a single work, Palmer sets out to find some answers, or rather some clues as to the nature of the man himself. With a specially filmed performance by the English Chamber Orchestra, this haunting song-cycle with poems by Wilfred Owen, Keats and Shakespeare among others, forms the backbone of Palmer's essay.'

'The new film is part of a trilogy of Tony Palmer's work on Britten to be shown on Sky Arts, which includes the Italia-prize winning 'A Time There Was' and his multi-award winning film of the opera 'Death in Venice' recently voted by a classical music website as one of the greatest  opera films ever made and never shown before on British television'

The film will be shown in November 2013 on Sky Arts. Watch this space!

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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.