The Chamber Orchestra of Europe is funded with support from the European Commission and The Gatsby Charitable Foundation
Newsletter June 2011
23 May: Private anniversary concert at St John’s, Smith Square, London
24 May: Concert with Eric Le Sage at the Cité de la musique, Paris
24 June to 4 July: Styriarte Festival in Graz, Austria, with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Pierre-Laurent Aimard
THE COE ON AIR
On 23 June, BBC Radio 3 will feature one of the COE’s recordings (Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance in C Op. 72 No. 1) in its series Classical Collection and on 30 June, Classic FM will dedicate a two-hour programme to the COE as part of its Great Orchestras of the World series.
Name: Nicholas Thompson
COE Position: Principal Trumpet
Place of Birth: UK
He said: “The COE is like the most delectable dish one could ever imagine with ingredients from every part of the world which come together to make this exquisite pie.”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE COE!
We are sure that many of you will know that the Chamber Orchestra of Europe celebrated its 30th birthday during May, but have you ever heard how it came to life?! It is a unique story... Approximately 40 of the most experienced members of the European Community Youth Orchestra who were performing at the Salzburg Festival in August 1980 with Herbert von Karajan, decided to form a chamber orchestra to enable them to continue performing together on a professional and long-term basis as they had reached the age limit of 23 in the ECYO. The idea was encouraged by Claudio Abbado, then Music Director of the ECYO, and developed by his assistant, James Judd, who introduced the players to Peter and Victoria Readman during their honeymoon in Salzburg. Some nine months later, on 18 May 1981, a launch concert was organised by Peter and Victoria at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London. The programme included Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C minor K491 played by Steven Bishop Kovacevich and conducted by James Judd. After the interval, as James was preparing to conduct Mozart’s Symphony No. 29, he spotted Claudio Abbado at the back of the hall and spontaneously handed him the baton… the rest is history.
On 23 May 2011, the Orchestra celebrated its 30th anniversary in style with a private concert, playing to a full house in St John’s, Smith Square, London. Directed by its two leaders, Marieke Blankestijn and Lorenza Borrani, the COE performed Mozart’s Overture to the Marriage of Figaro and Symphony No. 29, J.S Bach’s Double Concerto and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 “Classical”. The Orchestra is fortunate to have developed a network of close friends who have been loyal supporters over the years and has attracted many new friends more recently, including conductor Vladimir Jurowski who came from Glyndebourne to attend this special event. To the audience’s astonishment, and to mirror the surprise during the COE’s first concert, the Orchestra’s Chairman Peter Readman invited Mr. Jurowski to conduct the encore, the Overture to Cenerentola by Rossini. The conductor happily stepped forward and, by way of a baton, used a pencil from his pocket! We have received glowing letters from the audience following this concert, many of which refer to the magical atmosphere and sublime music-making, all adding to a truly memorable celebration.
The film “The Chamber Orchestra of Europe—Making music from the heart” is now available for you to watch over the internet.
French film director Eric Griffon du Bellay joined the Orchestra during its Beethoven cycle with Bernard Haitink in Paris and Amsterdam earlier this year in order to make a short film about the essence of COE. Please click here to watch.
CONCERT AT THE CITE DE LA MUSIQUE, PARIS: ERIC LE SAGE, MARIEKE BLANKESTIJN AND LORENZA BORRANI
On 24 May, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe performed at the Cité de la musique in Paris with soloists Eric Le Sage (piano), Marieke Blankestijn (violin) and Lorenza Borrani (violin). The programme was a repeat of the Orchestra’s anniversary concert from the night before, although the Overture to the Marriage of Figaro by Mozart was replaced with the Piano Concerto No. 17. We were very grateful indeed to Eric Le Sage who replaced Pierre-Laurent Aimard at very short notice due to Pierre-Laurent’s ill health. The Orchestra was still in party mode and the concert was extremely well received by a very enthusiastic audience.
STYRIARTE FESTIVAL WITH NIKOLAUS HARNONCOURT AND PIERRE-LAURENT AIMARD, GRAZ, AUSTRIA
From 24 June to 4 July, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe will be resident at the Styriarte Festival in Graz, Austria. The Orchestra will perform The Bartered Bride by Smetana with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, as well as The Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns (25 June) and Mozart’s Piano Concertos K466 and K467 with Pierre-Laurent Aimard (1 and 3 July). Please visit the Styriarte website for more details and to book tickets.
Considered as a major contribution towards the development of Czech music, the Bartered Bride is a comic opera which was premiered in Prague on 30 May 1866 in a two-act format with spoken dialogue. Set in a country village, it tells the story of how, after a late surprise revelation, true love prevails over the combined efforts of ambitious parents and a scheming marriage broker. The opera was further developed into an extended and more successful three-act version that was first performed in 1870. Considered by the Czechs themselves as quintessentially Czech in spirit, Smetana’s opera features many folk-like dances such as the polka and the furiant. Interestingly, this will be the first production of the opera in the German translation by Emanuel Züngel who was commissioned directly by Smetana to translate the libretto.