Britten Sinfonia will thrill anybody who wants to see orchestral life renewed, refreshed and made newly relevant for the 21st century. The Times
Britten Sinfonia is one of the world’s most celebrated and pioneering ensembles. The orchestra is acclaimed for its virtuoso musicianship, an inspired approach to concert programming which makes bold, intelligent connections across 400 years of repertoire, and a versatility that is second to none. Britten Sinfonia breaks the mould by not having a principal conductor or director, instead choosing to collaborate with a range of the finest international guest artists from across the musical spectrum, resulting in performances of rare insight and energy.
Britten Sinfonia is a Barbican Associate Ensemble and has residencies in Norwich, Brighton and Cambridge (where it is the University’s Orchestra-in-Association). The orchestra also performs a chamber music series at Wigmore Hall and appears regularly at major UK festivals including Aldeburgh and the BBC Proms. The orchestra’s growing international profile includes regular touring to Mexico, South America and Europe. In February 2012 Britten Sinfonia made its American debut at the Lincoln Centre, New York.
Founded in 1992, the orchestra is inspired by the ethos of Benjamin Britten through world class performances, illuminating and distinctive programmes where old meets new, and a deep commitment to bringing outstanding music to both the world’s finest concert halls and the local community. Britten Sinfonia is a BBC Radio 3 broadcast partner and regularly records for Harmonia Mundi and Hyperion.
In 2012-13 season Britten Sinfonia celebrates its 20th anniversary with gala concert at the Barbican featuring close associates Kuljit Bhamra, Alina Ibragimova, Pekka Kuusisto, Joanna MacGregor, Mark Padmore, Seb Rochford, Andy Sheppard, and Britten Sinfonia Voices, with birthday tributes from James MacMillan and Nico Muhly.
Other collaborators this season include Ian Bostridge, Alice Coote, Colin Currie, Angela Hewitt, Alina Ibragimova, Pekka Kuusisto and Mark Padmore, with premieres from composers including Gerald Barry, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Alissa Firsova, Detlev Glanert, Jay Greenberg, Nico Muhly, and Dobrinka Tabikova. Following UK performances, many of these collaborations will tour internationally to major European cities with performances in some of the world’s finest concert halls.
Central to Britten Sinfonia’s artistic programmes are a wide range of creative learning projects run by the orchestra. In the 2012-13 season Britten Sinfonia will premiere a work commissioned through OPUS 2013; the orchestra’s new project (in partnership with Wigmore Hall) offering unpublished composers the chance to receive a professional commission performed as part of Britten Sinfonia’s award-winning At Lunch series.
The season also sees the debut performances from Britten Sinfonia Academy featuring talented young musicians and composers from across the East of England. Led by Britten Sinfonia musicians and guest artists, the Academy specialises in the features that make Britten Sinfonia unique, including exploring new music and crossing genres, composition and improvisation, and performing without a conductor. Our Academy will help to develop the next generation of musicians and is central to our vision for the future.
Britten Sinfonia has received many awards including two prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Awards in 2007 and 2009 (Ensemble and Chamber Music respectively). Britten Sinfonia recordings have been Grammy nominated and received a Gramophone Award. In 2008 the orchestra and its International Partner, Cambridge University Press, won the Arts & Business International Award for its tour to South America.