The English Chamber Orchestra
Patron: HM King Charles III
Leader: Stephanie Gonley
The English Chamber Orchestra has been performing across the UK and globally for over 60 years and is the most recorded chamber orchestra in the world. From its beginning, the ECO has worked consistently with the most significant musical figures in classical music starting in 1960 with its first patron Benjamin Britten. The ECO celebrates and builds upon its tradition of maintaining the highest international musical standards, nurturing new talent and focusing on the ‘best of British’ music and musicianship.
The orchestra has toured the UK and abroad with artists such as Benjamin Britten, Daniel Barenboim, Dame Janet Baker, Colin Davis, Placido Domingo, Jacqueline du Pre, Kiri te Kanawa, Yehudi Menuhin, Luciano Pavarotti, Murray Perahia, Itzhak Perlman, Andre Previn, Karl Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Georg Solti, Mitsuko Uchida, Maxim Vengerov and Pinchas Zukerman.
Recent tours have included Bermuda, USA, Mexico, Finland, France, Turkey, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Slovenia and Austria, as well as concerts across the UK and at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Kings Place and Cadogan Hall.
HRH The former Prince of Wales has been the Patron of the ECO since 1977 and the orchestra has performed at royal weddings, birthday celebrations and other events including the first concert ever to be broadcast from Buckingham Palace. The orchestra has also recorded many successful film soundtracks including Dario Marianelli’s prizewinning scores for Atonement and Pride and Prejudice.
The ECO is proud of its outreach programme, Close Encounters, which takes music into communities and schools around the UK and abroad. In 2019, the ECO became the Professional Orchestra in Partnership at Christ’s Hospital School in West Sussex, a collaboration involving side-by-side performance and one-to-one tuition. In 2022, the orchestra delivered some exciting and far-reaching projects including The Thames Music Makers project in conjunction with Hammersmith & Fulham Council at Riverside Studios, and in 2023, the Windrush Project welcomed children from various schools at the London Transport Museum.
The future promises a further expansion of the programme, bringing musical experiences to even more young people.
The orchestra has ended the 22/23 season with a busy touring diary which included most recently the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany, a concert in Bulgaria Hall in Sofia, and the Mozartfest in Wurzburg.