The Northern Chamber Orchestra (NCO) is the North West’s oldest professional chamber orchestra and has come a long way since it was set up in 1967. It now presents a successful, annual series of concerts in Macclesfield and Manchester which attracts top-flight soloists and sell out audiences. The 2019-20 season to date has seen concerts from cellist Raphael Wallfisch, pianist Martin James Bartlett and percussionist Colin Currie, and there are more concerts to come before May.
In March, the orchestra is joined by pianist Benjamin Powell and trumpeter Tom Osborne who play Shostakovich’s Concerto for piano, trumpet and string orchestra (op 35). The concerts take place at The Heritage Centre in Macclesfield (Saturday 21 March 7.30pm) and The Stoller Hall in Manchester (Sunday 22 March 3.00pm). Also on the programme are Tchaikovsky’s Elegy, an arrangement of Handel’s Violin Sonata in D by the NCO’s composer in residence James Manson, and two Mozart Divertimentos: K138 in F and K251 in D. Benjamin Powell is resident pianist at Manchester’s contemporary Psappha ensemble, and Tom Osborne is assistant principal trumpet at The Hallé. The NCO are thrilled to be teaming up with these renowned Manchester-based soloists for these exciting concerts, for which tickets are on sale now. BUY TICKETS.
In April, the principal players from the orchestra will perform as the NCO Soloists for two concerts celebrating the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven. The first, at The Heritage Centre in Macclesfield (Saturday 18 April 7.30pm), features two of his most celebrated chamber works. Beethoven’s String Quartet op 130, played in the original version with the massive and notorious Grosse Fuge as finale, is the most substantial of the late great quartets, which mystified audiences of that time. The Septet, scored for clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello and double bass, is one of Beethoven’s most successful and popular works – an uplifting piece of music that is rewarding and enjoyable for the musicians and audience alike. BUY TICKETS. The second, at Christ Church in West Didsbury, Manchester (Friday 24 April 7.30pm) features two of the composer’s string quartets set off by one of Janáček’s masterpieces from his old age – quartet no 1, the ‘Kreutzer Sonata’ – passionate gestures alongside vigorous Czech folk dances. Beethoven’s Quartet in A (op 18 no 5) is very much a homage to Mozart and specifically his own quartet in A K464. The Quartet in E flat (op 127), the first of his late quartets, has an imposing opening, stretching the sonority of four string players. The slow movement is arguably Beethoven’s greatest set of variations while the finale dissolves into an extraordinary ethereal coda. BUY TICKETS.
In May, the superb British violinist Anthony Marwood joins the orchestra for another Beethoven piece, his Olympian Violin Concerto (op 61). Marwood is equally at home playing the great concertos, chamber music and pioneering new works, and the NCO eagerly await his interpretation of this great piece. The concerts take place at The Heritage Centre in Macclesfield (Saturday 16 May 7.30pm) and The Stoller Hall in Manchester (Sunday 17 May 3.00pm). The concert begins with a new piece specially composed by the NCO’s resident composer, James Manson. Previous compositions by Manson, Meeting at Nisqueunia and Softly Pleads my Song have been very well received. The orchestra also play Haydn’s Symphony no 101, subtitled ‘The Clock’, written for the composer’s second trip to London in the late 18th century. BUY TICKETS.
Tickets start at just £12, with group discounts available. All concerts can be purchased by visiting www.ncorch.co.uk/concerts. Tickets for concerts in Macclesfield and Didsbury can be purchased over the telephone by calling 0161 247 2220, and The Stoller Hall tickets are available from 0333 130 0967.
The Northern Chamber Orchestra’s 2020-21 season will begin in October and tickets go on sale in May. You can be the first to hear about the new season by signing up to their email newsletter at www.ncorch.co.uk, or following them on social media.