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, 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, Vienna, and Styriarte festivals.
Currently, the Orchestra works closely with Sir András Schiff and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who are both Honorary Members, following in the footsteps of Bernard Haitink and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
The COE has strong links with many of the major festivals and concert halls in Europe including the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Kammermusiksaal der Philharmonie in Berlin, the Cologne, Luxembourg and Paris Philharmonies, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt. In partnership with the Kronberg Academy, the COE becomes the first-ever Orchestra-in-residence at the Casals Forum in Kronberg from 2022. The Chamber Orchestra of Europe is also Orchestra-in-residence at the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt from 2022.
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 release is an archive recording of the Schubert Symphonies, performed at the Styriarte Festival in Graz in 1988 with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, released by ICA Classics. The 4-CD box-set has been enthusiastically received by the critics internationally, and we have now released a second box-set of archive recordings with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, featuring works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms. In January 2022, we also released all of the Sibelius Symphonies on DVD and BluRay, conducted by Paavo Berglund at the Helsinki Festival in 1998.
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.
„There are worse ways to start the day than with four Mozart Salzburg divertimenti: all the better when performed in Salzburg and with such distinction and evident affection as was brought to them by soloists from the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.“
Seen and heard international, 26th January 2020
„At its end, this “dream team” of players and conductor took thunderous applause.“
Bachtrack, 20th August 2018
SELECTION OF PROJECTS (2023/24)
29 November – 2 December 2023
Antonio Pappano, conductor / Beatrice Rana, piano
R. Schumann: Piano concerto in A minor, Op. 54
J. Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 74
28 May – 3 June 2024
András Schiff, conductor and piano
Brahms: Haydn Variations
Haydn: Sinfonia Concertante for oboe, bassoon, violin & cello
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1
PAST CONCERTS – A SELECTION
5 October 2020
Sir Simon Rattle, conductor / Vilde Frang, violin
L. v. Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
J. Haydn: Symphony No. 90 in C major, Hob. I/90
6 October 2019
J. Haydn: Overture to L’isola disabitata in G minor, Hob Ia:13 / Haydn: Piano Concerto No. 11 in D major / Symphony No. 88 in G major
F. Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25 / Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 “The Italian”