Acknowledged as “the finest chamber orchestra in the world” (BBC 2 Television), the Chamber Orchestra of Europe was founded in 1981 by a group of young musicians graduating from the European Union Youth Orchestra. It was their ambition to continue working together at the highest possible professional level, and of that original group, thirteen remain in the current core membership. The members of the COE, selected by the Orchestra itself, pursue parallel careers as international soloists, Leaders and Principals of nationally-based orchestras, as members of eminent chamber groups, and as tutors and professors of music. It is their wealth of cultural backgrounds and shared love of music-making which remain at the heart of their inspired performances.
Performances are given regularly in the major cities of Europe and occasionally in the USA and the Far East.
The COE has strong links with the Lucerne Festival and also with many of the major concert halls in Europe. These include the Philharmonie de Paris, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Cologne Philharmonie, the Philharmonie Luxembourg and the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden.
Over the years the COE has performed with many of the world’s greatest artists. The Orchestra developed especially close relationships with the late Claudio Abbado and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Now, it is fortunate to be working very closely with Bernard Haitink, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Sir András Schiff, who are all Honorary Members, and has forged strong artistic partnerships with Pierre Laurent Aimard, Lisa Batiashvili, Janine Jansen, Vladimir Jurowski, Leonidas Kavakos, Sir Antonio Pappano and Robin Ticciati.
The Chamber Orchestra of Europe works with all the major recording companies and, in just over thirty-five years, has recorded over 250 works. It has won numerous prizes for its recordings including three Gramophone Record of the Year awards and two Grammys. The COE was the first Orchestra to create its own label, “COE Records”, in association with ASV Records, now distributed by Sanctuary/Universal Music.
The COE is a private orchestra which receives invaluable financial support from a number of Friends including particularly The Gatsby Charitable Foundation.