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The Mahler Chamber Orchestra – renowned for its passion and creativity – was founded in 1997 with the shared vision of being a free and international ensemble. MCO is a nomadic collective of exceptional musicians, with 45 members of the core ensemble spanning 20 different countries and uniting for specific tours inEuropeand across the world.
The orchestra is on the move nearly 180 days per year, and has so far performed in 35 countries across 5 continents. It is governed collectively by its management team and orchestra board, and decisions are made democratically with the participation of all musicians.
At the heart of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra’s music making is the passion for chamber music that is shared by all MCO musicians. The orchestra’s sound is characterized by the tight ensemble playing of its alert and independent musical personalities. The MCO’s repertoire ranges from the Viennese classical and early Romantic periods to contemporary works and world premieres.
MCO musicians all share a strong desire to continually deepen their engagement with audiences. This has inspired a growing number of offstage musical encounters and projects that bring music, learning and creativity to communities across the globe.
The orchestra received its most significant artistic impulses from its founding mentor, Claudio Abbado, and from Conductor Laureate Daniel Harding. Pianist Mitsuko Uchida, violinist Isabelle Faust and the conductors Daniele Gatti and Teodor Currentzis are current Artistic Partners who inspire and shape the orchestra during long-term collaborations.
In 2015, the MCO concluded its major four-year project with Leif Ove Andsnes, The Beethoven Journey. Andsnes led the complete Beethoven concerto cycle from the keyboard in international residencies includingBonn,Lucerne,Vienna,Paris,New York,Shanghai,Tokyo, andLondon. The complete cycle is available on CD and was recognized with various prizes; amongst them the BBC Music magazine’s 2015 Recording of the Year Award.
2016 starts with several high-profile projects: In January, Mitsuko Uchida and the MCO inaugurate their long-term partnership focused on Mozart’s piano concertos with an extensive tour to Spain, Luxemburg, Salzburg, and Frankfurt. In February, the orchestra proceeds with its Beethoven symphonies cycle under the baton of Artistic Partner Daniele Gatti in Italy. Daniel Harding will conduct the 8th MCO Academy project at partner venues in Dortmund, Cologne and Essen, Germany. In March, the orchestra tours with a semi-staged concert version of George Benjamin’s masterpiece Written on Skin under the baton of the composer. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra played the world premiere of Written on Skin in 2012, and theUS stage premiere at the Mostly Mozart Festival inNew York in summer 2015.