With an unsurpassed reputation for inspiring performances of baroque and classical music, The English Concert ranks among the finest chamber orchestras in the world. Such standing is the result of tireless work at home, on the road and in the studio since 1973, guided along the way by founder Trevor Pinnock, his successor Andrew Manze, and current Artistic Director Harry Bicket. Our award-winning discography of over 100 recordings features masterworks from Bach to Purcell and Handel to Mozart, as well as some of the most renowned artists in recent history. Lucy Crowe’s debut solo recital Il Caro Sassone, Alison Balsom’s Sound the Trumpet, and Elizabeth Watts’ recent exploration of virtuosic arias by Alessandro Scarlatti are but the latest of our endeavours.
Under Bicket’s skilled direction, the players of the English Concert made delectable sounds in bringing this intricate score – full of ingenuity and charm – back to life.
The Guardian, 2015
We also enjoy working with several distinguished guest directors, including harpsichordists Laurence Cummings, Christian Curnyn and violinist Rachel Podger. This season virtuoso pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout kicked-off the New Year with the early classical masters of CPE Bach and Mozart, whilst Christian Curnyn turns his attention towards the French style with Rameau and Marais in the spring.
Here given new life with the invigorating English Concert, skittering firework displays alternate with soulful contemplations in a programme full of surprises.
The Independent, 2015
Ground-breaking collaborations in musical theatre and opera are also at the forefront of our thinking and form part of our longstanding relationships with exceptional artists and venues. These include Dominic Dromgoole’s Gabriel at Shakespeare’s Globe with trumpeter Alison Balsom and retracing the footsteps of the intrepid music historian Dr Charles Burney at the wonderfully intimate Sam Wanamaker Playhouse with Mark Padmore. Joining forces with Alice Coote, the Brighton Dome and BBC Proms played host to Susannah Waters’ most recent production Being Both, a work seeking to challenge perceptions of gender in the works of Handel. Meanwhile the Bristol Old Vic and Buxton Opera House set the scene for Tom Morris and John Retallack’s candle-lit take on Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Through a specially commissioned prologue David Stout, as the displaced Trojan hero, brought to life Aeneas’ escape across the Mediterranean following the fall of mighty Troy before being washed up on the shores of Carthage. Plans for future seasons see further collaborations with Tom Morris at the Bristol Old Vic and a full production of Handel’s Tamerlano in Buxton. Across the Atlantic, New York’s Carnegie Hall have commissioned a series of annual Handel operas-in-concert after the success of Radamisto (Daniels, Röschmann, Watts) in 2013. Theodora (Joshua, Connolly, Mead) and Alcina (DiDonato, Coote, Christy) soon followed in 2014 with Hercules (Rose, Coote, Watts) hot on their heels in 2015. The present season sees Iestyn Davies take on the title role in Orlando, and indeed in Rinaldo in 2018, whilst Joyce DiDonato returns once more for Ariodante in 2017.