Richard Lester, Principal Cello
Richard Lester has been Principal cello of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe since 1989.
Leading chamber-musician, solo-cellist, orchestral principal and renowned teacher, Richard Lester appears regularly at the world’s foremost concert venues and festivals.
He studied in London at the RCM with Amaryllis Fleming and in Germany with Johannes Goritzki. 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. In addition he is frequently called upon to be guest-leader of the cello sections of the major London orchestras, appearing with many of the world’s finest conductors and soloists.
He has performed as concerto soloist with, among others, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Camerata Salzburg, BBC Scottish SO, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Manchester Camerata and the Ulster Orchestra, under conductors including Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Paavo Berglund, Sandor Vegh, Myung Whun Chung and Sir Roger Norrington. He has also appeared as director and soloist with COE, OAE, Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London Mozart Players, 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 Beethoven series in London’s Wigmore Hall.
Richard Lester is regularly invited to take part in chamber-music festivals around the world. He is artistic co-director, together with violinist Anthony Marwood, 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 Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School in London. He gives masterclasses worldwide, and is a frequent guest teacher in Canada at the Banff Center and at Domaine Forget.
He plays on a cello made in Brescia, c.1700, by G.B. Rogeri.
The Principal Cello Chair is supported by an anonymous donor.