news

Northern Chamber Orchestra to perform its final three concerts at The Heritage Centre in Macclesfield

The Northern Chamber Orchestra, the North West’s longest-standing chamber orchestra, has announced its move from The Heritage Centre in Macclesfield to the brand new, purpose built, auditorium at The Kings’ School in Macclesfield. The auditorium is part of a £60 million campus, opened in July 2020.   

The final three concerts at The Heritage Centre also mark the departure of Artistic Director and principal violin, Nicholas Ward. Nicholas said, “Since starting as the leader of the Northern Chamber Orchestra in October 1984, I’ve had 37 years working with many great colleagues, with the support of a number of management teams, board members, friends, patrons and, of course, our audience. I have had some enjoyable and worthwhile music-making during that time, but the time has come to step down and leave the NCO to the next generation.” 

The concerts take place on Saturday 26th March, Saturday 23rd April (with the BBC Philharmonic’s principal horn, Ben Hulme playing Richard Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1) and Saturday 21st May (with Australian guitarist Craig Ogden playing Malcolm Arnold’s Guitar Concerto), all at 7.30pm. The concert on 26th March is the annual NCO Soloists concert, where the principal musicians from the orchestra will play works by Richard Strauss, Dvořák and Mendelssohn. Tickets for the concerts are on sale now from www.ncorch.co.uk or 0161 247 2220, starting at £18 (free for students and under 18s), with a discounted mini-season ticket available from www.ncorch.co.uk/season-tickets

The NCO will announce its new season, featuring internationally renowned guest soloists, at their stunning new venue in May 2022. 

Artistic Director Nicholas Ward to step down after 37 years with the NCO

The Northern Chamber Orchestra’s Artistic Director and lead violin, Nicholas Ward, has announced his decision to step down from the role from the end of the 2021-22 season. Nicholas said, “Since starting as the leader of the Northern Chamber Orchestra in October 1984, I’ve had 37 years working with many great colleagues, with the support of a number of management teams, board members, friends, patrons and, of course, our audience. I have had some enjoyable and worthwhile music-making during that time, but the time has come to step down and leave the NCO to the next generation.”

General manager Charlie Rowley said, “Nick is a very good thing, but as we know, even the best things must sadly come to an end. He leaves us an extraordinary legacy of music-making and a never less than entertained audience behind. I’m sure that I can speak for board, staff and most of all, the players – he will be sorely missed.”

Nicholas recently received a Mayor’s Civic Award for his contribution to Arts and Culture in Macclesfield. Of the award, he said, “having played in Macclesfield since 1984 and found the audience always most friendly and receptive, I am very happy to receive this award on behalf of all my colleagues in the Northern Chamber Orchestra.”

Nicholas’ departure also coincides with the NCO’s move from The Heritage Centre in Macclesfield to the brand new, purpose built, auditorium at The Kings’ School in Macclesfield. The auditorium is part of a £60 million campus, opened in July 2020. We look forward to announcing our new season, featuring internationally renowned guest soloists, at this stunning new venue in May 2022.

NCO in Radio 3 broadcast as part of Manchester Week

NCO with Chloe Hanslip, BBC Radio 3

Following the cancellation of the January 2021 Manchester Week due to COVID-19, BBC Radio 3 announces new plans for a week of live and pre-recorded concerts, featuring performances from some of the city’s best-known concert halls and venues:  Bridgewater Hall, The Stoller Hall at Chetham’s School of Music, Salford’s The White Hotel and Media City, home of the BBC Philharmonic.

Highlighting BBC Radio 3’s continued commitment to connecting listeners and performers with broadcasts of music-making as it happens all over the UK, the Manchester Week celebrates the city’s ensembles, musicians, and composers, with appearances by established and up-and-coming artists.

The Northern Chamber Orchestra’s recent concert with violinist Chloë Hanslip will be broadcast on Radio 3 on Wednesday 26 January at 7.30pm, and features string music by Shostakovich, Elgar, Finzi and Grieg. Listen live, or for 30 days afterwards on the BBC Radio 3 website.

Alan Davey, BBC Radio 3 Controller, said: “Here at BBC Radio 3 we are passionate about reflecting the amazing musical life of this country and bringing it to audiences the world over.

“This mission matters even more in the current climate, with the ongoing global pandemic and ensuing uncertainties affecting audiences’ opportunities to enjoy the live music they crave, and for musicians to be able to play, connect and make a difference.

“With the Manchester Week, we take a moment to celebrate inspiring talent in inspiring venues, and to put the spotlight on one of the UK and the world’s most creative and culturally vibrant cities. ”

Fran Healey, general manager of The Stoller Hall, says: “Manchester’s music scene is legendary, but with so many emerging artists and with incredible venues to host them, classical music in Manchester has never been more vibrant.

“Here at The Stoller Hall we couldn’t be more excited to welcome BBC Radio 3 into our very special concert hall, sharing the city’s music with the nation and the world.”

For full listings of BBC Radio 3’s Manchester week, visit stollerhall.com/festivals/bbc-radio-3-manchester-week/

Renowned pianist Steven Osborne joins Northern Chamber Orchestra for first concerts of 2021-22 season

The concerts, featuring two works by Beethoven, see the Northern Chamber Orchestra return to The Stoller Hall in Manchester for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the opening concert of its Macclesfield season.   

Joining the NCO for the concerts is pianist Steven Osborne, one of Britain’s most treasured musicians, who was the winner of the RPS Instrumentalist of the Year in 2013. Celebrated for his insightful interpretations, his musicality and technique, he plays Beethoven’s poetic Piano Concerto No. 4, Also on the programme are Beethoven’s magnificent Symphony No. 4 – in turn serious, high-spirited and playful – and a new work by the NCO’s composer in residence James Manson, the fourth to be performed by the orchestra. The concerts take place Saturday 25th September at 7.30pm at the Heritage Centre in Macclesfield, and Sunday 26th September at 3.00pm at The Stoller Hall in Manchester. A digital recording will also be available, accessible for the week following the concert for unlimited views.      

In the coming months, the Northern Chamber Orchestra is joined by other guest soloists including principal oboe of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra John Roberts and principal horn of the BBC Philharmonic, Ben Hulme. Violinist Chloë Hanslip, guitarist Craig Ogden and cellist Raphael Wallfisch make up the stellar guest soloist line up. Artistic Director of the NCO, Nicholas Ward, said “We are presenting this season as an expression of hope – that once again people will gather together to hear live performances of great music played by excellent musicians and some great soloists.”  

Tickets and streaming passes for the concerts are on sale from www.ncorch.co.uk or 0161 247 2220 (Macclesfield and online) or 0333 130 0967 (Manchester). Season tickets are also available. 

2021-2022 season now on sale [19.07.21]

NCO complete remote music education project in Stockport

2021-22 season announced [23.06.21]