CHRISTOPHER MORLEY – BIRMINGHAM POST/MUSICAL OPINION – Malvern, October 2022
Having turned our backs on the EU, we scarcely deserve the opportunity of relishing the talents of the excellent European Union Chamber Orchestra. Doubtless the personnel have changed over the years; what remains a constant is the ensemble’s exuberance in performance, projected so compellingly by all these players. Britten’s Simple Symphony was crisply delivered in this resonant acoustic with a clarity of texture, attention to dynamics and a unanimity of ebb and flow. Holst’s St Paul’s Suite was an absolute joy, given such a swing and with open-air exhilaration.
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Nine Nation Vivaldi
(Two Movements of Two Violin Concerto)
The ECCO gave its first concerts in 1981 and soon gained a worldwide reputation as a musical ambassador for what was then the European Community.
From 1992 to 2011 assistance from the European Commission enabled EUCO to tour in South and East Asia, North, South and Central America, North Africa and the Middle East as well as Europe.
Performances included those in the presence of the royal families of Holland, Belgium, Spain, Jordan, Thailand and Cambodia.
With King Sihanouk of Cambodia
in the Royal Palace at Phnom Penh
In 1996 EUCO was the first “European” Orchestra to give concerts in Belize and Cuba. In 1997 our tour of Canada celebrated 500 years since the landing of John Cabot and in 1998 we toured India in celebration of 50 years of the country’s independence and also the British Presidency of the EU.
Performances, to date in 73 countries, include prestigious halls such as Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Kölner Philharmonie, Milan’s Sala Verdi and Valencia’s Palau de la Musica and regular appearances in many major halls across Britain. Famous soloists who have performed with EUCO include Nicola Benedetti, Sheku Kanneh Mason, Alison Balsom, Julian Lloyd Webber, James Galway, Mischa Maisky and Alina Ibragimova.
Appearances at international festivals have included the Glasperlenspiel, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Emilia Romagna, Flanders, Echternach, Bodensee and Ravello and recent tours have taken us to Luxembourg, Germany and often to Spain, Malta, Egypt and Turkey.
At Residence of EU Ambassador in Cairo
Vivaldi with Nicola Benedetti
Here are our current music directors
HANS PETER HOFMANN has a wide-ranging and successful international career as a soloist, concertmaster and chamber musician which has taken him all across Europe, America and most recently to Korea.
He is a much sought-after violin teacher and currently Professor at the Musikhochschule in Saarbrücken.
With EUCO he has toured widely, including to Mexico and South America and in the UK several of his concerts have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Nottingham Post wrote in April 2019
Hans-Peter Hofmann’s approach [in Schubert’s 5th symphony] ensured well-judged pacing, sensitive phrasing and much beautiful playing from the orchestra. Inner detail was allowed to shine through in a performance which combined precision with affection.
Luxemburger Wort wrote in September 2015
The two first bars of the ‘Simple Symphony’ op.4 of the 21-year old Benjamin Britten sufficed to give the impression that a technically and musically accomplished Ensemble was playing….. With Mozart’s A major Symphony K.201 EUCO brought the evening to a close in convincing and inspiring manner. A Mozart interpretation which bounced along with both lightness and excitement.
Dutch violinist, EVA STEGEMAN has a long-standing relationship with EUCO. Currently, leader of the Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss, she has also led period instrument groups such as Combattimento Consort Amsterdam and is the founding violinist of the Cristofori Piano Quartet.
Professor of chamber music at the Conservatories of The Hague and Rotterdam she is the founder and director of the well-respected ‘Classical Encounters’ chamber music festival.
The Cambridge Critique wrote in January 2020
Next up a fine rendition of a relative rarity from Mozart – the ‘Cassation No. 1’ – which gave the violinist Eva Stegeman a chance to shine in many lovely solo parts…..Tchaikovsky’s ‘Elegy for Strings’ was quite exquisitely played – sad but lovely with its repeated simple melody, haunting in tone, the orchestra in perfect balance.
And the EDP wrote of a concert in Norwich in 2018
Directed from the violin by Eva Stegeman, they began with an excellent account of Bach’s 3rd Brandenburg Concerto, tempi perfectly judged, textures clear; a performance with a real feeling of spontaneity.
DARRAGH MORGAN enjoys a hugely diverse career. His great interest in contemporary music has led to engagements with groups such as Ensemble Modern, the London Sinfonietta and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. Festivals, where he has performed, include Wien Modern, Ars Musica Brussels, the Festival d’Automne Paris, Aldeburgh and Cheltenham.
As violinist of the Fidelio Trio he has performed as far afield as Shanghai, New York and Johannesburg, and as a soloist he has appeared with the Kölner Kammerorchester and Cyprus Symphony Orchestra. He has been teaching at the Colleges of Music in Cardiff, Glasgow and London (the RCM).
The Ilkley Gazette wrote of a socially distanced concert in October 2020 in Leeds Town Hall
Although reduced to half their normal playing strength to ten musicians on stage, the vitality of the smaller ensemble directed by Darragh Morgan was just infectious…… Mozart’s Divertimento K138 emerged with taste and poise and Handel’s Concerto Grosso Opus 6, No 1 had the desired crispness
These are available EUCO RECORDINGS
For MOZART – Symphony no.29, Kassation K.63, Divertimento K.251/Hofmann, go to barncottagerecords.co.uk
This 2013 release of music by Mozart received an “Outstanding Award” in the International Record Review.
For a preview, with light-hearted introduction produced in mid-2020, click here
For VIVALDI – Concertos for Two Cellos/Julian & Jiaxin Lloyd Webber/Hofmann, go to naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.573374.
This CD, released in 2014, was in the top 10 of the Amazon charts and no.4 on Classic FM.
For the following recordings, hyperion-records.co.uk
- Vivaldi – The Four Seasons/Oprean
- Viotti & Fiorillo Violin Concertos/Oprean
- Concertos for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies/Aadland
- Haydn Violin Concertos/Oprean
- The Concerto in Europe/Demetriades
- The Symphony in Europe/Faerber
MOZART – Serenades for Wind Instruments: Serenade in B flat major, K, 361 (“Gran Partita”), Serenade in E flat major, K.375/Mantas
BACH – Piano Concertos BWV1052, 1054, 1056, 1058/Micallef /Schembri
And for something LIVE, try TCHAIKOVSKY’s Souvenir de Florence, directed by Hans-Peter & broadcast from Cheltenham Town Hall on BBC Radio 3
EUCO offers not only outstanding and unique opportunities to young professional players, some of whom have only recently embarked on their careers, it also undertakes teaching in schools and coaching of youth orchestras, often supported by:
Here are two educational videos
Photos of training projects in Granada (Spain), Greshams School, Stroud and Southampton
WHY WE NEED THE SUPPORT OF FRIENDS
Our concerts in large venues are self-financing while smaller medium-sized halls are rarely capable of raising sufficient funds to meet performance costs such as transport, hotels and the fees of soloists and orchestra members.
This major commitment to play in smaller venues, giving their audiences opportunities to hear fine music and famous soloists close to their home, thus avoiding the increased environmental costs of travel, is very important for today’s world. At the same time, it is essential to create performing opportunities for prize-winning young artists and to commission new music from the current generation of young composers.
Exclusive benefits for Friends
- Advance notice of concerts in your area
- Special events for Friends
- Priority booking at most venues
- Open rehearsal attendance
- Email newsletters
To become a Friend, please email email@example.com
You can also support us by shopping ONLINE at numerous stores via giveasyoulive.com The store, NOT YOU makes a small contribution to our Charity.
Go to these websites, sign up and the stores make a contribution every time you shop.
OR FOR AMAZON PURCHASES:
Details of Gift Aid and a Gift Aid form are available from the Friends’ Secretary. With regard to Data Protection, please advise the Friends’ Secretary if you wish your membership to remain anonymous, as we may sometimes wish to publish names of Friends in concert programmes or other publications.
All donations are made to EUCO Trust Ltd. Reg. Number 2144158, Charity No: 297643.
Trustees: Gareth Keene (Chairman), John Crowley, Alice Fookes, Dame Janet Ritterman, Simon Routh.