Chamber Orchestra of Europe

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The Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE), established in 1981, is administratively based in London. The orchestra comprises about 60 members coming from across Europe. The players pursue parallel careers as international soloists, members of eminent chamber groups, and as tutors and professors of music. The orchestra receives substantial support from the European Commission and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation;[1] they have no single home resident hall and no appointed resident conductor.

The idea for the COE came from musicians in the European Community Youth Orchestra, from members who were past the age limit for the ECYO and who wanted to continue working together in a chamber orchestra context. The founding members included the oboist Douglas Boyd, who served as the COE's principal oboist from 1981 to 2002. Over the years the COE has developed strong relationships with Claudio Abbado, Bernard Haitink and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, together with Thomas Adès, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Emanuel Ax, Lisa Batiashvili, Paavo Berglund, Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Ivan Fischer, Thomas Hengelbrock, Vladimir Jurowski, Leonidas Kavakos, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Sir Roger Norrington, Sakari Oramo, Maria João Pires, András Schiff and Mitsuko Uchida.

The COE performs regularly in the major cities of Europe, with occasional visits to the USA, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. The COE has strong links with the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, the Styriarte Festival (de) in Graz, the Lucerne Festival, as well as the Philharmonie in Cologne, the Cité de la musique and the Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Opéra de Dijon. In 2007, the European Union appointed the COE as a Cultural Ambassador in its Culture Programme. The COE created the COE Academy in 2009 in order to provide opportunities to gifted music students to study with COE musicians.

The orchestra has made over 250 commercial recordings for all the major recording companies with various conductors, including Claudio Abbado,[2] Paavo Berglund,[3] Nikolaus Harnoncourt,[4][5] and Thomas Hengelbrock.[6] The orchestra has won a number of prizes for its recordings including three Gramophone Awards for the Record of the Year 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.


  1. ^ Geoffrey Norris (2006-04-27). "The best chamber orchestra in the world". Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  2. ^ Andrew Clements (2003-06-27). "Schubert: Lieder, orchestrated by Berlioz, Offenbach, Liszt, Brahms, Reger, Webern and Britten: Von Otter/ Quasthoff/ Chamber Orchestra of Europe/ Abbado". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  3. ^ Andrew Clements (2001-07-20). "Chamber of wonders". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  4. ^ Andrew Clements (2003-02-28). "Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos 1 -5: Aimard/Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Harnoncourt". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  5. ^ Andrew Clements (2009-11-19). "Gershwin: Porgy and Bess: Lemalu/Kabatu/Nwobilo/Forest/Arnold Schoenberg Choir/Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Harnoncourt". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  6. ^ Andrew Clements (2007-11-16). "Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto; Octet, etc, Hope/Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Hengelbrock". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 

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