Northern Chamber Orchestra announce exciting new season in Macclesfield, plus debut seasons in Chester and Wirral

The Northern Chamber Orchestra, the North West’s longest-standing chamber orchestra, has announced its 2023-24 season at The Kings’ School in Macclesfield, and the beautiful, intimate St Michael’s Church, along with its debut seasons at Storyhouse in Chester and Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight, Wirral. The season, entitled “Making Waves”, includes not only the familiar but also several new works from the 20th and 21st centuries, and sees a host of exciting conductors, directors and soloists, including violist Jaren Ziegler, soprano Nadine Benjamin and conductor Ellie Slorach, take the stage.

A white teenage boy with brown hair, wearing a black tshirt and holding a viola.

Jaren Ziegler, viola

The season opens on Friday 13 October, when the NCO’s vice-president Martin Roscoe joins the orchestra to play Beethoven’s Emperor symphony. The season continues in November and December with Mahler’s Symphony No 4, under the guidance of Delyana Lazarova, whose stunning performance of the Eroica last year lingers long in the memory (November 4), and a concert with Christmas themes including Vivaldi’s Gloria, featuring the Kantos Chamber Choir.

A black woman wearing a black dress stood next to the sea.

Nadine Benjamin, soprano

The NCO returns to Tatton Park on Friday 8 December for its annual Christmas Concerts. The concerts (3.30pm and 7pm) will include festive favourites, readings and carols sung by the Choir of St Nicholas Catholic High School, Northwich, and the evening concert also includes a tour of the mansion.

2024 opens with the NCO’s wind section playing three concerts focusing on Richard Strauss. Following this are a concert inspired by nature, with Zoë Beyers (February 17); a concert that is mainly baroque, featuring the teenage 2022 string winner of BBC Young Musician, Jaren Ziegler (March 9-11); and Schubert’s Death and the Maiden, with violinist Katie Stillman (April 1).

Closing the series on Saturday 4 May, Christopher Jones directs the orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphony No 7, with Kay Stephen on viola.

These pieces sit alongside a diverse range of 20th and 21st century music. The season features the European composers Arvo Pärt, Dobrinka Tabakova, Jean Francaix, and Anna Clyne, together with American composers Caroline Shaw, Jennifer Higdon, Charles Ives and Morten Lauridsen. They share common characteristics, namely powerful emotional expression and immediate accessibility.

Chairman of the board, John Phillips, said “2022-23 was a year of transition. We settled into our new homes at the King’s School and St Michael’s Church, with high attendance levels at both. We are truly grateful to our audiences, sponsors, patrons and the Friends of the NCO for their continuing and generous support. 2023-24 is a year of expansion: more concerts in more places and more community activities. A substantial grant from Arts Council England will enable us to present a new concert series and an extensive community and educational programme in Chester and Wirral.”