Northern Chamber Orchestra (NCO)

Based in Manchester, the NCO will celebrate 50 years in its 2017 – 2018 season and is now one of the country’s top, professional chamber orchestras.  It presents an annual series of eight concerts at the Heritage Centre in Macclesfield, which attracts top-flight soloists – during the 2016 / 17 season (which gets underway on Saturday 8 October) we will be joined by violinists Chloë Hanslip and Matthew Trusler, flautist Adam Walker, and pianists Steven Osborne and Lara Melda.

The orchestra also performs concerts across the North of England.  NCO is regularly included in Orchestras Live programmes across rural areas of the country.

NCO in rehearsal in the Carole Nash Hall at Chetham's School of MusicThe orchestra collaborates with high profile organisations and individuals, such as the BBC, Buxton Festival, Orchestras Live, MMU Faculty of Education, Chetham’s School of Music and leading Music Hubs.

Buxton Festival’s Artistic Director, Stephen Barlow, commented: “…the NCO, our own Festival orchestra, never ceases to amaze me with its ability to soak up pressure (three operas, always new to them, in varying styles), and deliver outstanding playing with care and love, and who are now as much an indispensable part of the Festival as all of us.”

It has over thirty, critically-acclaimed recordings to its name and is known in every continent.  While excelling in performing a wide range of repertoire, the NCO and its Artistic Director and Leader, Nicholas Ward, enjoy opportunities to premiere new works by contemporary composers, such as Adam Gorb, Anthony Gilbert and David Ellis.

The members of the orchestra (approximately twenty in total) are distinguished chamber musicians who regularly appear as soloists.

The NCO delivers an extensive learning and development programme with schools, colleges and music groups in many of the Orchestra’s concert locations; the NCO is the ‘Orchestra in Residence’ at Manchester Metropolitan University, Faculty of Education.  The Orchestra’s ethos is to provide young people and adults with opportunities to engage with enjoyable and inspiring projects, which are tailor-made to meet specific needs.

The orchestra is always keen to give emerging new artists performance opportunities, including a fourteen year-old Jennifer Pike back in 2003!  Its recent collaborations with Chetham’s School of Music have enabled talented music students to rehearse with, then share the stage with, NCO’s musicians as part of an ongoing learning and performance partnership.