"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 www.brittensinfonia.co.uk