Endymion (ensemble)

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Chamber music ensemble for contemporary music
Endymion (Finlandia Digital, 1989 CD cover).jpg
Endymion 1989 CD cover, Fazer Records / Finlandia
Former nameEndymion Ensemble
Founded1979 (1979)

Endymion, formerly Endymion Ensemble, is an English chamber music ensemble, founded in 1979 and dedicated to contemporary classical music.


One of the founding members was John Whitfield who often conducted the group. Players have included pianist Michael Dussek, oboists Melinda Maxwell and Quentin Poole, clarinetist Mark van de Wiel, hornist Stephen Stirling and double bass player Chi-chi Nwanoku.[1]

Whitfield conducted the ensemble in recordings dedicated to works by specific composers, including in 1988 Dumbarton Oaks, works by Igor Stravinsky,[2] in 1989 Lichtbogen by Kaija Saariaho and other works by Finnish composers,[3] and in 1995 Phaedra/Les Illuminations, music by Benjamin Britten.[4]

In a series at the Southbank named Composer Choice, they have performed concerts dedicated to contemporary composers such as Michael Berkeley, Harrison Birtwistle, Gavin Bryars, Peter Maxwell Davies, Oliver Knussen, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Judith Weir and John Woolrich.[1] Composer Jonathan Dove chose Mozart's Serenade for winds, K. 375. Stravinsky's Pastorale in the version for soprano and wind quartet, and his own Figures in the Garden, among others.[5]

In 2004, Endymion recorded works for wind ensemble by Graham Waterhouse, including Mouvements d'Harmonie, on a CD Portrait featuring also chamber music for strings played by the English Chamber Orchestra. A review noted "All these pieces are superbly played by all concerned".[6] In 2011, players performed at the Mahler Centenary Conference chamber music, including Mahler's Piano Quartet in the context of the Menuetto from his Third Symphony, Erich Korngold's Piano Trio, Op. 1, Shostakovitch's Piano Trio No. 1 and Alfred Schnittke's Piano Quartet (after Mahler).[1]

The ensemble often performs with the BBC Singers, conducted by David Hill. In 2013, they recorded for example Steve Reich's The Desert Music at Milton Court, London.[7] They performed the work again at the Royal Albert Hall on 13 August 2014 at the Proms.[8] Tim Ashley wrote in The Guardian: "The work requires vast resources of accuracy and stamina from its performers, all of whom rose superbly to its challenges."[9]


  1. ^ a b c "The Endymion Ensemble". University of Surrey. 9 July 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  2. ^ "Dumbarton Oaks". Amazon. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Lichtbogen for Nine Musicians and Live Electronics". Amazon. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Britten: Phaedra; Les Illuminations; Five French Folksong Arrangements". classical-music.com. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  5. ^ Clarke, Colin (2000). "Endymion Ensemble (Composer Choice Series) with Eileen Hulse (soprano) / Purcell Room, South Bank, London. 2 February 2000". musicweb-international.com. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  6. ^ Culot, Hubert (2004). "Graham Waterhouse / Portrait 2". Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  7. ^ "BBC Singers und Endymion-Ensemble" (in German). WDR. 10 February 2014. Archived from the original on 6 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  8. ^ "The Endymion Ensemble". BBC. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  9. ^ Ashley, Tim (14 August 2014). "Prom 37: BBC Singers/Endymion/Hill review – draining and exhilarating". Retrieved 18 August 2014.

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