The Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) was founded in 1997 based on the shared vision of being a free and international ensemble, dedicated to creating and sharing exceptional experiences in classical music. With 45 members spanning 20 different countries at its core, the MCO works as a nomadic collective of passionate musicians uniting for specific tours in Europe and across the world. The orchestra is constantly on the move: it has, to date, performed in over 40 countries across five continents. It is governed collectively by its management team and orchestra board; decisions are made democratically with the participation of all musicians.
The MCO’s sound is characterized by the chamber music style of ensemble playing among its alert and distinct musical personalities. Its core repertoire, ranging from the Viennese classical and early Romantic periods to contemporary works and world premieres, reflects the MCO’s agility in crossing musical boundaries.
The orchestra received its most significant artistic impulses from its founding mentor, Claudio Abbado, and from Conductor Laureate Daniel Harding. Pianist Mitsuko Uchida, violinist Pekka Kuusisto and conductor Teodor Currentzis are current Artistic Partners who inspire and shape the orchestra in long-term collaborations. Concertmaster Matthew Truscott leads and directs the orchestra regularly in chamber orchestra repertoire.
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. Feel the Music, the MCO’s flagship education and outreach project, has opened the world of music to deaf and hard of hearing children through interactive workshops in schools and concert halls since 2012. MCO musicians are equally committed to sharing their passion and expertise with the next generation of musicians: since 2009, they have, through the MCO Academy, worked with young musicians to provide them with a high quality orchestral experience and a unique platform for networking and international exchange.
In recent years, the MCO’s major projects have included the award-winning Beethoven Journey with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, who led a complete Beethoven concerto cycle from the keyboard in international residences over four years, and the opera production Written on Skin, which the MCO premiered at the Festival d’Aix-enProvence under the baton of composer George Benjamin, performed at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York and toured, as a semi-staged concert production, to major European cities. In 2016, the MCO and Mitsuko Uchida launched a multiple-season partnership centred on Mozart’s piano concertos. During his three-year term as Artistic Advisor, Daniele Gatti led the MCO in a complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies. This focus on orchestral repertoire has now moved on to Schumann’s symphonic work.
Spring 2019 takes the Mahler Chamber Orchestra to four continents and thirteen countries for ground-breaking projects and long-term partnerships. It reunites with Artistic Partner Mitsuko Uchida for a five-year project based around Mozart’s piano concertos, launching multi-year collaborations with Salzburg’s Mozartwoche, London’s Southbank Centre and New York’s Carnegie Hall. Conductor Laureate Daniel Harding leads the MCO in its debut at the Adelaide Festival, as well as in concerts in Tokyo and Shanghai. Together with Pablo Heras-Casado, the MCO celebrates Manuel de Falla’s music at its annual Heidelberger Frühling residency and at the Granada Festival. Artistic Partner Teodor Currentzis leads the orchestra in Brahms’ Requiem in concerts in Russia and Germany. In May 2019, with performances in Germany, France and Portugal, the MCO joins forces with long-time partner Leif Ove Andsnes to launch MOZART MOMENTUM 1785/1786, a multifaceted project spanning four years.
MCO in the 36. FIMC