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What Conductors and Soloists say about the COE

ˮQuote - Pierre-Laurent Aimard

Well, this is a very unique orchestra you know? They decided 30 years ago to found an orchestra and the best possible musicians joined this project, working on great pieces with great conductors and soloists. They are people from a very fine culture and an incredibly refined orchestra musically. In the history of the orchestra, I arrived in the latter part [performing Beethoven concertos under Harnoncourt and directing Mozart from the keyboard]. The COE was already established and incredibly unified. Don’t forget that this is an orchestra that was not founded by an outsider – I mean a conductor – but by musicians themselves, who wanted to share in music-making, and it is easy to understand that, even after all these years, there is a strong common wish to go on with the project. It’s a pleasure to share music with them – an indestructible joy.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Pianist

ˮQuote - Vladimir Ashkenazy

I cannot imagine a chamber orchestra which plays at a higher level; they are always impeccably prepared and the magnitude of their musicianship is beyond comment. It's my great pleasure and privilege to be standing in front of them.

Vladimir Ashkenazy, Conductor


The members of the COE are all great artists in their own right, but one immediately feels the delight that they have in playing with each other -their aim is to share their individual gifts, and to produce a unified vision of the music they they play.  Most of all, they extend to musicians like me, who get to join them on occasion, the gift of friendship, both musical and personal.  I always feel that playing with the COE is a true privilege, and it is a highlight of my musical life.  In short, I am a devoted and grateful fan!

Emanuel Ax, Pianist

ˮQuote - Lisa Batiashvili

This is the orchestra I have the biggest admiration for. Each member is a unique musician and it feels like they all share wisdom, knowledge, good taste and a great instinct for music. I find it remarkable that in certain symphonies, which can often sound very heavy and grounded, COE, with its round and warm tone, brings its special, natural genius for music making to every work - this is so rare to find.

Lisa Batiashvili, Violinist

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Getting to play with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe is always a special treat. It feels like chamber music in its grandest form.

Joshua Bell, Violinist

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The COE is like a good CEO: it is an undisputed leader but uses its power with discretion and always in the service of music.
It has been my privilege over the years to join the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for many unforgettable concerts. It is a uniquely gifted ensemble, and since they play together only in their scarce free time they are super dedicated and prepared to bring any sacrifice for the sake of their art. The result is stunning and brings their audiences rare musical experiences.
I thank God for them.

Herbert Blomstedt, Conductor

ˮQuote - Semyon Bychkov

The Chamber Orchestra of Europe symbolizes an idealistic vision of sharing a lifelong quest in search of musical expression, which is based on both extraordinary musical talent and human compatibility. Here, the intimacy of chamber music is extended to an orchestral experience, in which idealism and intellectual curiosity help nurture each other. The atmosphere of youthful intensity, joy of making music and being together, absence of routine, these are the signature characteristics of COE, which make them a very distinct star in the musical universe.

Semyon Bychkov, Conductor

ˮQuote - Ivan Fischer

The COE is special, inspiring!

Ivan Fischer, Conductor

ˮQuote - Bernard Haitink

[With the COE] I don’t feel I’m a conductor anymore. I feel I’m a musician who can make music with them. They respect each other, they love each other, they love music, and I find it enormously refreshing to work with them. Because the Chamber Orchestra of Europe is slightly smaller, one gets more into the heart of things, it’s very interesting. I love them.

BBC Proms 2015, for BBC Four Television

This Orchestra is the greatest gift in the later stages of my career.

Lucerne Summer Festival 2014


The Chamber Orchestra of Europe is highly responsive: everything happens immediately. More than an orchestra, it is in fact a group of exceptionally talented musicians. As true chamber musicians, they are used to listening to each other, without being exclusively focused on the conductor. This matches exactly the idea I have of conducting an orchestra.

For Le Figaro, 19/01/2011

I can only say that this is an immense pleasure to work with these people. They are unique. They are 30 years old and of course there are many new, younger members, but they still have the same enthusiasm and extreme professionalism which many orchestras would envy them. I’m over the moon to work with them.

Bernard Haitink, Conductor

ˮQuote - Nikolaus Harnoncourt

The COE is for me the great adventure troop. I will be thankful as long as I live for all the great things we did together... Unforgettable rehearsals and performances and a loving connection to every single musician; this is unique.

Nikolaus Harnoncourt †, Conductor

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I will never forget my first meeting with the wonderful Chamber Orchestra of Europe. There was such a warm atmosphere and complete devotion to making music together. I was truly inspired by the direct and flexible communication with all these fantastic musicians and am very much looking forward to our future project!

Janine Jansen, Violinist

ˮQuote - Vladimir Jurowski

Working with the COE is always an enormous challenge and an equally enormous joy. Every musician of this orchestra has a strongly developed musical personality and clear views on the questions of musical performance and style. And so any conductor coming to the COE has the impossible task of converting all of these different and very strong personalities into his view of the piece. But once this has been achieved the joy of music-making on the stratospherically high level begins! All musicians in the COE give their absolute 150 % in concert but what is even more important is that where for many orchestras the creative work ends with the last rehearsal, for the COE the process of the true creativity only starts with the first concert. They simply never get tired of looking for more colors, trying to penetrate even deeper into the piece which is being performed, always sensitively following the conductor's intentions but also offering new ideas of their own!... In short - an inspirational orchestra!

Vladimir Jurowski, Conductor

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I have admired the Chamber Orchestra of Europe since my student years through wonderful concerts and recordings; I also had the privilege to witness very closely the work of these great musicians with the late Carlo Maria Giulini. Some years later, when I first stood among them to make music, we immediately felt a very unique connection. The artistry, enthusiasm, dedication and knowledge of these musicians have no boundaries. Every single moment with the COE counts amongst the most treasured in my life as a musician. I am looking forward to many more moments like these.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Conductor

ˮQuote - Sakari Oramo

The COE is simply the best orchestra I know: animated, soulful and full of the divine sense of purpose that makes all music so worthwhile. And it is the greatest incarnation of the European cultural ideal.”

Sakari Oramo, Conductor

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There are orchestras, good ones, great ones and then there is the COE. This is a community of individuals who love music and who obviously enjoy being together. Like in good chamber music, there is a constant flow of give and take. It is a unique ensemble. There is no routine. Most of the members play chamber music – in string quartets, wind quintets and different formations – when they are not in the orchestra, so there is a high level of listening to one another. They come from different countries and schools of playing, but they have their very own sound as an ensemble. It’s also an incredibly intelligent orchestra. I have played concertos, directed from the keyboard, and now also conduct the symphonic repertoire. The rehearsals are a joy. You don’t have to say things twice. The collective sensitivity and intelligence of this group is admirable. Together they represent the very essence of Europe, something the politicians of the EU could learn from. It makes me happy and proud to be associated with this unique ‘orchestra’.

Sir András Schiff, Pianist

ˮQuote - Mitsuko Uchida

The COE’s strength is the commitment of the players. When they get together, they play with enormous pleasure.

Mitsuko Uchida, Pianist