A birthday message

For the COE, an international touring orchestra comprising of musicians who live far apart from each other in different European cities, the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could not be more acutely felt. We have faced the nightmare scenario of seven very difficult months without being able to make music together as concert halls and music festivals all over the world close down.

As the virus is still active we continue to be faced with severe travel and quarantine restrictions and also a completely changed way of making live music with social distancing and other measures. However, there has been one project shining bright for several months that has been cutting through these barriers,  a project that we have been determined to find a way to bring to fruition: finally, on 5th October we were at last able to perform together again and most importantly at the Berlin Philharmonie with Sir Simon Rattle and violinist Vilde Frang. We presented repeat concerts at 5pm and 9pm in performance of Beethoven Violin Concerto and Haydn Symphony No. 90.

We have longed to work with Sir Simon Rattle for many years and it has been such an immense boost for us all, both musically and psychologically to have this opportunity with him now at this difficult and important time for the orchestra. We have been fortunate to perform with Vilde in the past and it was a great pleasure to join her again on this occasion to discover and immerse ourselves in her interpretation of the Beethoven Concerto.

In addition to the enjoyment and success of the rehearsals and concerts our project has been a Beacon of Hope. We have been able to join together and truly recharge our batteries and look to the future with renewed optimism. We would not have been able to realise the concert without Sir Simon’s support and with that of the Berlin Philharmonie nor without sponsorship from the Gatsby Foundation for which we are extremely grateful.

Please visit (and start following!) our brand new Instagram page for photos of our Berlin adventure.

Five-star review in RBB Kultur online (06/10/2020)
“This Orchestra does not need hierarchies and gives conductors the feeling to be musicians themselves.” (“The Sound of Democracy“, Tagesspiegel, 06/10/2020)
Five-star review on Bachtrack (08/10/2020): “In the double variations, the excellent soloists of the orchestra could be admired.”


A birthday message

All of us at the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE) offer our strong support to those who are dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic on the front line and to colleagues and organisations in our precious world of music whose lives and businesses have been thrown into uncertainty. Times have never been more difficult in living memory and many orchestras in our independent sector are now coping with an existential threat.

The COE is a close-knit international musical family and this time of crisis draws together all our friends and colleagues for whom music is an essential part of life. Like all orchestras at this time, we are facing cancellations and watching hard-fought-for special projects dissolve before our eyes for reasons beyond our control. Although this is deeply disappointing, we want to ensure that not all projects will be lost and by working closely with our partners, we hope to reinstate as many as possible in the future.

Even though the independent orchestral sector is more vulnerable at times such as these as a result of the fact that we operate mostly without concert hall or state support, we will just have to be more flexible and resilient than ever. Certainly our loyal and long standing friends are determined to protect the Orchestra and we are now working actively with all our partners, both artistic and financial, to find a path through these challenging times.

Ever since our first concert in 1981 we have believed that it is up to us to solve our own problems and to provide a challenging and stimulating life for all involved in our organisation. The Orchestra’s original objectives were the pursuit of excellence, the breaking down of barriers and the achieving of international success against the odds. These objectives were the reasons for our creation and they have sustained us for nearly 40 years. They are still as strong and important as ever.

There are many challenges to be faced over the coming months and we are confident that we can weather the storm. As we navigate these turbulent and uncharted waters we would be delighted to hear from you if you would like to  help in any way.

Thank you for your many messages of support and we look forward to joining you in the concert hall again as soon as possible. In the meantime please follow us on Twitter or Facebook for news of the many recordings of the COE’s past concerts over the coming months.

Your friends at the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.


Beethoven cycle

It is with great disappointment that we must inform you that the Luxembourg and Paris Philharmonies have been forced to cancel our forthcoming concerts with Yannick Nézet-Séguin who was due to be conducting Beethoven symphony cycles in both cities. This project was of course going to be a major milestone in the close to 40 year life of the COE and the concerts, apart from being sold out weeks ago, were going to be recorded for Deutsche Grammophon.

Beethoven’s symphonic repertoire has been at the very heart of the COE since its foundation in 1981, and it is an immense blow for us to lose this opportunity to be able to rediscover, perform and record these extraordinary works with Yannick, our special Honorary Member.

It is almost 30 years ago that we performed and recorded our first Beethoven symphony cycle with our first Honorary Member, Nikolaus Harnoncourt , a recording which went on to win every major recording award and which sold over one million CDs. Looking to the future, we will hopefully find a way to bring our current project back to life with Yannick and will announce our rescheduled plans as soon as possible.

Inevitably, we are very concerned about all our concerts that are scheduled in the coming months, particularly those in Germany in May and early June as well as our visit to the Bravo Vail Festival in Colorado with Yuja Wang at the end of June. While we hope a miracle may yet happen, we have to be realistic and accept that all our forthcoming projects in the next few months are in jeopardy as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. We can however assure you that we have every intention of fighting our way through these difficult times and indeed being in a position to continue to make music at the highest level throughout the world, as we have done for almost four decades.

A message from Yannick



These are difficult times.
A particularly challenging aspect for us though is the social aspect. We are a very closely bonded team, used to spending a lot of time with each other deeply focused on playing as one. The love and respect we have for one another has grown over the years into a powerful connection on many levels. Suddenly, we won’t be seeing each other for much longer than the few weeks we were expecting after the end of the last tour.
We are missing each other terribly!!
Below, we ask each other two questions: What do you love most about COE? What do you miss most about COE?
#missingcoe #wewillbeback #wewillmeetagain

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