EUROPEAN UNION CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Patron: HM Queen Sofia of Spain
The EUCO gave its first concerts in 1981 and soon gained a worldwide reputation as a musical ambassador for the European Union. From 1992 to 2004 assistance from the European Commission enabled EUCO to make intercontinental tours covering 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 Queen Noor of Jordan, the King and Queen of Belgium and its own Patron, Queen Sofia of Spain. In 1999 EUCO gave a concert to mark the 77th birthday of King Sihanouk of Cambodia in the Royal Palace at Phnom Penh and in 2000 performed for the birthday of Princess Galyani in Bangkok.
At the invitation of the European Delegations, EUCO toured South America seven times and Mexico nine times and in 1996 was the first “European” Orchestra to give concerts in Belize and Cuba. In 1997 EUCO’s tour of Canada celebrated 500 years since the landing of John Cabot and in 1998 EUCO toured India in celebration of 50 years of Indian independence and the British Presidency of the EU. Other countries to which it returned very regularly included Chile and Peru, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
Since 2005 EUCO has concentrated on performing across Europe, in particular in the new member states of the European Union. Giving annually between 40 and 50 concerts, to date in 73 countries, its schedule includes prestigious halls such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Frankfurter Alte Oper, Milan’s Sala Verdi and Valencia’s Palau de la Musica as well as many major halls across Britain. The Orchestra has appeared at international festivals such as the Glasperlenspiel, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Emilia Romagna, Flanders, Echternach and Bodensee. Recent tours have taken it to the UK, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy, France, Turkey, the Netherlands, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Peru. Following on from concerts with Nicola Benedetti in 2011, 2012 included a tour of Christmas concertos with her as well as a live broadcast on BBC Radio 3 from Llandudno with Julian Lloyd Webber, the Bath Festival with Alison Balsom, the Ravello Festival in Italy and a concert in Luxembourg. 2013/14 included extended tours in the UK, Spain, Germany and Turkey and 2014/15 schedule includes Malta and Egypt as well as Germany, Spain and the UK.
EUCO has performed with many distinguished artists, for example Cyprien Katsaris, Lazar Berman, Mischa Maisky Igor Oistrakh James Galway, Ivo Pogorelich Nicola Benedetti, Alina Ibragimova, Emma Johnson and Gil Apap. The Orchestra commissions works from leading European composers and has to its credit 21 CDs for various labels including ASV, Hyperion, Koch and Naxos.
In 2008 the Orchestra’s Haydn CD was “Editor’s Choice” in the Gramophone and the 2013 release of music by Mozart received an “Outstanding Award” in July’s International Record Review
Over the years EUCO has received funds from the European Commission, British Council, Goethe-Institut, the Ministry of Culture of Spain, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy and the Cultural Relations Committee of Ireland.