Acknowledged as “the finest chamber orchestra in the world” (BBC 2 Television), the Chamber Orchestra of Europe was founded in 1981 by a group of young musicians graduating from the European Union Youth Orchestra. It was their ambition to continue working together at the highest possible professional level, and of that original group, thirteen remain in the current core membership of around sixty. The members of the COE, selected by the Orchestra itself, pursue parallel careers as international soloists, Leaders and Principals of nationally-based orchestras, as members of eminent chamber groups, and as tutors and professors of music. It is their wealth of cultural backgrounds and shared love of music-making which remain at the heart of their inspired performances.

Performances are given regularly in the major cities of Europe and occasionally in the USA and the Far East.

The COE has strong links with the Lucerne Festival and also with many of the major concert halls in Europe. These include the Philharmonie de Paris, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Cologne Philharmonie, the Philharmonie Luxembourg and the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden.

Over the years the COE has performed with many of the world’s greatest artists. The Orchestra developed especially close relationships with the late Claudio Abbado and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Now, it is fortunate to be working very closely with Bernard Haitink, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Sir András Schiff, who are all Honorary Members, and has forged strong artistic partnerships with Pierre Laurent Aimard, Lisa Batiashvili, Janine Jansen, Vladimir Jurowski, Leonidas Kavakos, Sir Antonio Pappano and Robin Ticciati.

The Chamber Orchestra of Europe works with all the major recording companies and, in just over thirty-five years, has recorded over 250 works. It has won numerous prizes for its recordings including three Gramophone Record of the Year awards and two Grammys. The COE was the first Orchestra to create its own label, “COE Records”, in association with ASV Records, now distributed by Sanctuary/Universal Music.

The COE is a private orchestra which receives invaluable financial support from a number of Friends including particularly The Gatsby Charitable Foundation.

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.



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
    Gert-Inge Andersson, Viola (Associate)
    Ida Grøn, Viola (Associate)
    Simone Jandl, Viola (Associate)
    Stephen Wright, Viola (Associate)
  • Cello
    William Conway, Co-Principal Cello
    Richard Lester, Co-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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