Biography

The Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE) was founded in 1981 by a group of young musicians who became acquainted as part of the European Community Youth Orchestra (now EUYO). There are now about 60 members of the COE, who pursue parallel careers as principals or section leaders of nationally-based orchestras, as eminent chamber musicians, and as tutors of music.

From the start, the COE’s identity was shaped by its partnerships with leading conductors and soloists. It was Claudio Abbado above all who served as an important mentor in the early years. He led the COE in staged works such as Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims and Il barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni and conducted numerous concerts featuring works by Schubert and Brahms in particular. Nikolaus Harnoncourt also had a major influence on the development of the COE through his performances and recordings of all of the Beethoven symphonies, as well as through opera productions at the Salzburg Festival, in Vienna and at the Styriarte.

Currently the Orchestra works closely with Sir András Schiff and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who are both Honorary Members alongside Bernard Haitink and Nikolaus and Alice Harnoncourt. The 2019-20 season sees the COE perform with some of the world’s most renowned conductors and soloists including Emanuel Ax, Lisa Batiashvili, Joshua Bell, Rudolf Buchbinder, Renaud Capuçon, Alan Gilbert, Daniel Harding, François Leleux, Jan Lisiecki, Andrew Manze, Francesco Piemontesi, Matthias Pintscher, Izabella Simon, Denés Varjon, Yuja Wang and Joshua Weilerstein.

The COE has strong links with many of the major festivals and concert halls in Europe including the Cologne Philharmonie, the Philharmonie Luxembourg, Paris Philharmonie, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt. In partnership with the Kronberg Academy, the COE will become the first-ever orchestra-in-residence at the future Casals Forum in Kronberg from 2021.
With more than 250 works in its discography, the COE’s CDs have won numerous international prizes, including two Grammys and three Gramophone Record of the Year Awards. Their most recent releases include ‘Visions of Prokofiev’ with Lisa Batiashvili which won an Opus Klassik, Mozart operas La Clemenza di Tito and Die Zauberflöte, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 with Seong-Jin Cho, all conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Schumann’s Cello Concerto with Gautier Capuçon and conducted by Bernard Haitink.

In 2009, the COE Academy was created in order to give a select group of exceptional students the chance to study with the principal players of COE and, importantly, to give the students the opportunity to travel “on tour” with the orchestra.

The COE is a private orchestra which receives invaluable financial support from particularly The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and a further number of Friends including Dasha Shenkman, Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement, the Rupert Hughes Will Trust, the Underwood Trust, the 35th Anniversary Friends and American Friends.

Feature about the COE, ‘Continental drift’ by Simon Mundy, in Classical Music Magazine (April 2019)

Read more about our relationships with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Claudio Abbado.

Please click here to download the COE’s full biography.

 

History

The History of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Please click on the chapters below to discover the unique story of the creation of the COE and to find out how the Orchestra has evolved since 1981.

Harmony on a honeymoon

The 1980’s and 1990’s

The COE in the new millennium

 

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  • Honorary Members
    Bernard Haitink
    Nikolaus † and Alice Harnoncourt
    Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Sir András Schiff
  • Violin
    Lorenza Borrani, Leader
    Lucy Gould, Principal Second Violin
    Maria Bader-Kubizek, Violin
    Sophie Besançon, Violin
    Fiona Brett, Violin
    Maia Cabeza, Violin
    Christian Eisenberger, Violin
    Benjamin Gilmore, Violin
    Matilda Kaul, Violin
    Hans Liviabella, Violin
    Stefano Mollo, Violin
    Fredrik Paulsson, Violin
    Joe Rappaport, Violin
    Håkan Rudner, Violin
    Henriette Scheytt, Violin
    Martin Walch, Violin
    Elizabeth Wexler, Violin
    Marieke Blankestijn, Associate Leader
    Ulrika Jansson, Violin (Associate)
    Iris Juda, Violin (Associate)
    Mats Zetterqvist, Violin (Associate)
  • Viola
    Pascal Siffert, Principal Viola
    Nimrod Guez, Principal Viola
    Claudia Hofert, Viola
    Riikka Repo, Viola
    Dorle Sommer, Viola
    Ida Grøn, Viola (Associate)
    Simone Jandl, Viola (Associate)
    Stephen Wright, Viola (Associate)
  • Cello
    William Conway, Principal Cello
    Richard Lester, Principal Cello
    Luise Buchberger, Cello
    Kate Gould, Cello
    Tomas Djupsjöbacka, Cello
    Henrik Brendstrup, Cello (Associate)
    Kim Bak Dinitzen, Cello (Associate)
    Sally-Jane Pendlebury, Cello (Associate)
    Howard Penny, Cello (Associate)
  • Double Bass
    Enno Senft, Principal Double Bass
    Dane Roberts, Double Bass
    Rick Stotijn, Double Bass
    Håkan Ehrén, Double Bass (Associate)
  • Flute
    Clara Andrada de la Calle, Principal Flute
    Josine Buter, Flute
  • Oboe
    Philippe Tondre, Principal Oboe
    Rachel Frost, Oboe and Cor Anglais
  • Clarinet
    Romain Guyot, Principal Clarinet
    Marie Lloyd, Clarinet
  • Bassoon
    Matthew Wilkie, Principal Bassoon
    Christopher Gunia, Bassoon
  • Horn
    Jasper de Waal, Principal Horn
    Beth Randell, Horn
    Jan Harshagen, Horn (Associate)
    Peter Richards, Horn (Associate)
  • Trumpet
    Nicholas Thompson, Principal Trumpet
    Julian Poore, Trumpet
  • Trombone
    Håkan Björkman, Principal Trombone (Associate)
    Helen Vollam, Trombone (Associate)
  • Bass Trombone
    Nicholas Eastop, Bass Trombone
  • Tuba
    Jens Bjørn-Larsen, Tuba (Associate)
  • Timpani
    John Chimes, Timpani
  • Management
    Peter Readman, Executive Chairman
    Simon Fletcher, General Manager
    Mollie Jeffrey, Secretary of the COE Friends
    Caroline Ferry, Personnel and Planning Manager
    Patrick McEntee, Tour and Stage Manager
    Coralia Galtier, Business Development Manager
    Giovanni Quaglia, Office Manager and Librarian
    Norman Thomas, Accountant
  • Trustees
    Peter Readman, COE Executive Chairman
    James Judd, Conductor
    Michael Hoare, C.Hoare & Co
  • Advisers
    Stephen Wright, International Adviser, SWM
    Trudy Wright, International Consultant
    Caroline Harding-Gelbard, Digital Strategy Adviser (Paperless Post)
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