Keith Pascoe, Leader

“I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been a youth at a time when the EU was just starting out, when only nine countries were member states. Born in UK too, in this era all my violin lessons and courses were paid for by the state or local authorities. Compared to today – it was complete luxury. To get a place in the ECYO (now EUYO) in 1978/9 was a great thrill for someone who had not travelled much outside of Great Britain. And then to be catapulted into a musical world that I had never imagined existed. To discover young talented musicians who spoke many languages, who were better educated than myself and to this day remain my friends, was utter joy.

But it gets even better: a chamber orchestra was formed from members of the ECYO and we toured Italy with conductor James Judd. I was the concertmaster/leader and remember it well. At the end of the tour a group of us shared a common desire to form a professional orchestra that was to become the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. In 1981 I was the first leader of the debut concert conducted by Claudio Abbado and James Judd, with soloist Stephen Bishop Kovacovic, in London..

I had already been offered a principal position in the London Philharmonic and was torn between joining a fledgling young professional chamber orchestra or a well-established symphony orchestra. I chose the latter and remained five years in the LPO before dedicating the rest of my career to chamber music. I followed with great interest the steep trajectory of the COE’s climb to eminence and have always felt an attachment to their musical cause. Long Live COE!”


Keith Pascoe, Hon. ARAM; MPhil; MA.
Violinist, Conductor, Editor, Lecturer

In 2016 Keith Pascoe received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Concert Hall, Dublin for his work with the Vanbrugh String Quartet. He is an internationally regarded violinist, conductor and editor. His professional career began after prize-winning studies at the Royal College of Music, London where he studied violin with Jaroslav Vanecek, piano with Eileen Reynolds, and conducting with Norman del Mar.
His professional life began in 1981, when he became a founding member (and leader/concertmaster) of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Subsequent full-time positions included sub-leader (third concertmaster) of the London Philharmonic at the age of twenty-three, assistant director of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the Fields (with whom he has appeared as soloist), and ten years with exclusive EMI artists, the Britten Quartet.
From 1998 he was a member of the Vanbrugh Quartet, artists-in-residence to University College Cork. The ‘Vanbrugh’ in its current formation still give concerts in Ireland and abroad. He is currently (2023) Conductor of the Cork Fleischmann Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to his busy performing schedule, he has been researching the music of the eighteenth-century composer Luigi Boccherini. His critical editions of a previously unpublished works by Boccherini, issued by HH Edition, were critically acclaimed, and his discovery of a lost manuscript catalogue of the composer was lauded by commentators.
His performing, teaching and coaching have taken him across the world, including to such major institutions as Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Chethams School of Music,Manchester, Edsberg Institut, Stockholm, Hong Kong University, Kiev Conservatory, University of Southern California, and more recently to the Conservatorio superior de Musica ‘Rafael Orozco’ in Cordoba, Spain.
He is currently Lecturer in Chamber Music and Violin at the Conservatoire of Technological University, Dublin.

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