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 and for 16 years a member of the award-winning Florestan Trio, Richard Lester appears regularly at the world’s foremost concert venues and festivals. Equally at home on both period instruments and ‘modern’, he was for many years principal with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

In 2009 he joined the London Haydn Quartet. Playing on gut strings and with classical bows they have received invitations to many of the most important concert series in UK, USA, Canada, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Hungary. They have embarked on a project recording Haydn’s quartets for Hyperion; the latest disc, the Haydn opus 33s, will be released shortly.

Recent highlights include a tour of the UK and USA as concerto soloist with the OAE and Sir Roger Norrington, including performances at the South Bank in London, in Boston and at Lincoln Center in New York. He has also appeared as a director/soloist with the OAE, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and in Montreal and Quebec with Les Violons du Roy.

He has made over 30 highly acclaimed recordings, twice winning the Gramophone award for best chamber-music. His recordings of the complete works of Mendelssohn for cello and piano with Susan Tomes, 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.