Richard Lester (Principal)

Richard Lester, Principal

Richard Lester has been Principal cello of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe since 1989. He has performed with the COE under conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Sir Roger Norrington, Paavo Berglund and Myung Whun Chung.

Leading chamber-musician, solo-cellist, orchestral principal and renowned teacher, Richard Lester appears regularly at the world’s foremost concert venues and festivals. He was a member of the award-winning Florestan Trio, a founder-member of the ensemble Domus, a member of Hausmusik and the London Haydn Quartet. Equally at home on both period instruments and ‘modern’, he was for many years principal with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and is frequently called upon to be guest-leader of the cello sections of the major London orchestras.

He has performed concertos with, among others, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Camerata Salzburg, the BBC Scottish SO, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Manchester Camerata and the Ulster Orchestra, under conductors such as Sandor Vegh, Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Paavo Berglund, Myung Whun Chung and Sir Roger Norrington. He has also appeared as director and soloist with the COE, the OAE, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and in Montreal and Quebec with Les Violons du Roy.

The Florestan Trio was one of the world’s leading piano trios and for almost seventeen years the group maintained the same personnel, winning the Gramophone award in 1999 and the Royal Philharmonic Society award in 2000. Many of its records are benchmark recordings, nominated in collectors’ guides. The trio disbanded in 2012, finishing their career with a sold-out series of concerts in London’s Wigmore Hall.

Richard Lester is a frequent guest with the Nash Ensemble, especially in their series at the Wigmore Hall, and is regularly invited to take part in chamber-music festivals around the world. Together with violinist Anthony Marwood, he is artistic co-director of the highly successful annual Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival in East Sussex.

He has made over 40 highly acclaimed recordings, twice winning the Gramophone award for best chamber-music. His recordings of the complete works of Mendelssohn for cello and piano and a disc of Boccherini sonatas on period instruments are available on the Hyperion label.

Richard Lester teaches at the Guildhall School and the Royal College of Music in London, and at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

He plays on a cello made in Brescia, c.1700, by G.B. Rogeri