Artistic Director: Nicholas Cleobury

Britten Sinfonia 13 Sturton Street Cambridge, CB1 2SN

Telephone: 01223 300795
Fax: 01223 302092


“A major force in the musical life of the nation’
The Times

"The Britten Sinfonia is one of the brightest groups on the current British musical scene" (Gramophone) and was described by the Radio Times as "an all star orchestra". It features a collection of the country's most talented and creative musicians, many with solo careers. Pauline Lowbury leads the orchestra and the wind section is made up of players from the Haffner Wind Ensemble including oboist Nicholas Daniel. Under Artistic Director Nicholas Cleobury, the Britten Sinfonia has collaborated with other young musical talent, including Guy Johnston, Joanna MacGregor and Ian Bostridge with whom the orchestra made its Prom debut to great acclaim in August 1999.

Since its formation in 1992 the Britten Sinfonia has developed strong links with the East of England, establishing residencies in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Norwich and Luton. In addition, the orchestra performs at many major UK Festivals and venues, and broadcasts frequently on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. A programme of workshops, pre-concert activities, coaching and children's concerts run by the Education Department underpins the orchestra's dedication to introducing music to new audiences. The Education Department has just established a network of out of school concert clubs for young people in its resident areas.

The Britten Sinfonia pursues an artistic agenda committed to broadening the music traditionally associated with orchestras. Their ground-breaking series Frank Zappa and the Fathers of Invention was followed by performances of music by Gil Evans and Miles Davis, and a UK Tour in collaboration with Django Bates and his jazz group, Human Chain. This dedication to new music has also led to premières composers such as David Matthews, Philip Cashian, Django Bates, Aaron Jay Kernis, Roxanna Panufnik, Ray Davies of the Kinks, Nitin Sawhney and the orchestra's Composer in Association, John Woolrich.

Performances in 2001 included two concerts at the Edinburgh International Festival, with the Scottish première of James MacMillan's Parthenogenesis, conducted by the composer, and works by Stuart MacRae. There were also two BBC Proms appearances with Stravinsky's A Soldier's Tale and a concert with Ian Bostridge. The Britten Sinfonia's 10 date UK tour, Light and Shade, was particularly praised by both audiences and critics. Directed by pianist Joanna MacGregor, it included music by Schnittke, Lou Harrison and the first orchestral work from Nitin Sawhney. The tour was featured on LWT's The South Bank Show in December 2001.

This year's activities are no less varied. On 18 April in Cambridge, boundaries between music and film are blurred in a ground-breaking project, Building Music, with digital artists, architects and composer John Woolrich. In May the acclaimed pianist Angela Hewitt directs the orchestra in Bach and Mozart concerti, touring to the Norfolk & Norwich Festival, St. John's Smith Square, London and the International Orchestral Series at Edinburgh's Usher Hall. In October, the Britten Sinfonia's 10th anniversary season heralds the beginning of a regular concert series in Cambridge and Norwich featuring artists such as Joanna MacGregor, Evelyn Glennie, James MacMillan and the BBC Singers, with many of these concerts repeated elsewhere in the UK and overseas.

The Britten Sinfonia's discography boasts acclaimed recordings of Britten's Our Hunting Fathers with Ian Bostridge under Daniel Harding and a Gramophone Award winning disc of the Strauss Horn Concerti with David Pyatt for EMI. Other recordings that have garnered critical praise include Frank Bridge's Suite for Strings and two discs of Mozart's wind concerti for the Classic FM Full Works label. 'Neural Circuits', a live recording from the orchestra's 2001 tour with Joanna MacGregor, will be released on the Sound Circus label in May.

For further information about the Britten Sinfonia please contact us on 01223 300795 or visit our website




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