Northern Chamber Orchestra
The Northern Chamber Orchestra (NCO) has undergone a remarkable journey since its establishment in 1967. Presently, it curates an annual series comprising eight concerts hosted at The King’s School and St Michael’s Church in Macclesfield, a platform that consistently attracts accomplished soloists of the highest caliber. The upcoming 2023-24 season showcases luminaries like pianist Martin Roscoe, violinist Chloë Hanslip and violist Jaren Zigeler, among other distinguished artists. Expanding its reach even further, the NCO has embarked on an exciting new chapter by venturing into Chester and Wirral with a fresh season of musical excellence. This expansion entails a captivating series of four concerts in each location, promising residents of Chester and Wirral a rich tapestry of orchestral performances. By spreading its artistic wings into these vibrant communities, the NCO continues its legacy of fostering a profound connection with diverse audiences, enriching the cultural landscape in Chester and Wirral through the power of music.
A noteworthy tradition for the NCO is its annual participation in the Buxton Festival, where it contributes to the main opera productions, and additionally offers orchestral performances at St John’s Church in Buxton. Stephen Barlow, the former Artistic Director of Buxton Festival and an Honorary Patron of the NCO, lauds the orchestra for its remarkable ability to thrive under pressure and deliver exceptional performances with dedication and passion. The orchestra’s indispensability to the Festival is underscored by its consistent excellence and artistic contributions. Furthermore, the NCO frequently embarks on musical journeys across the North of England and remains a prominent presence in the Orchestras Live initiatives, reaching rural regions including the picturesque Lake District.
Comprising approximately twenty-five musicians, the orchestra boasts an ensemble of distinguished chamber players, many of whom frequently step into the limelight as soloists. Through collaborations with prestigious entities such as the Buxton Festival, Orchestras Live, MMU Faculty of Education, Chetham’s School of Music, and leading Music Hubs, the NCO is immersed in an array of high-profile partnerships. It is deeply committed to an extensive learning and development program that extends to schools, colleges, and music groups in various concert venues. This commitment aligns with the orchestra’s ethos of fostering engaging and inspirational projects tailored to address specific needs. Notably, the NCO is dedicated to nurturing emerging talents, as exemplified by its support of a fourteen-year-old Jennifer Pike in 2003. Collaborations with Chetham’s School of Music have facilitated remarkable learning experiences, allowing gifted music students to rehearse with and share the stage with the NCO’s accomplished musicians, fostering an enduring learning and performance partnership.
The orchestra’s remarkable influence extends beyond live performances, with over thirty critically acclaimed recordings in its discography, appreciated across continents. While showcasing expertise across a diverse repertoire, the NCO embraces opportunities to premiere contemporary compositions by esteemed composers such as Adam Gorb, Anthony Gilbert, and David Ellis, thereby contributing to the evolution of musical artistry.