The 12 ensemble has rapidly developed a reputation as one of the UK’s leading un-conducted string orchestras. A bold, versatile and virtuosic ensemble, the group is built around a core of twelve of London’s finest and most exciting chamber musicians. Committed to always performing without a conductor, the 12 ensemble breathes new life into the concept of the chamber orchestra. Having adopted the smallest possible formation at its heart, the ensemble creates performances that are as intimate, dedicated and dynamic as that of a string quartet but with the breathtaking sound and energy afforded by twelve brilliant string players.
Founded in 2012 by Artistic Directors Eloisa-Fleur Thom (Leader) and Max Ruisi (Principal Cello), the group’s youthful energy and passion for chamber music is at the heart of their music-making. Fearlessly programming bold new works alongside the greats of the string orchestral repertoire, the ensemble strives to bring exceptional music to as diverse an audience as possible. Equally at home performing on a warehouse rooftop as an international concert hall, the group seamlessly cross musical genres and create experiences relevant to both existing and new audiences of classical music.
The group perform at leading venues throughout the UK and Europe, with notable performances at the Barbican, King’s Place and the Paris Philharmonie plus tours to Iceland, Bulgaria and Italy. 2018 will see the ensemble perform at the new Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg as well as various other concert halls around Germany. Their debut album, including works by Walton, Woolrich and Tavener plus a new commission from British composer Kate Whitley, will be released in Autumn 2017.
Collaboration with outstanding international artists is a major aspect of the ensemble’s work, including recent performances with cellist Leonard Elschenbroich, violinist Mari Samuelsen, tenor Nicky Spence, violist Simon Rowland-Jones and pianist Mei Yi Foo. The ensemble regularly works with British composer Max Richter, and has performed a number of concerts alongside Max, including his ‘Four Seasons Recomposed’ and numerous BBC radio broadcasts. The ensemble have also commissioned a new piece for solo dancer from award-winning Royal Ballet and Rambert choreographer Alexander Whitley, set to their recording of Woolrich’s ‘Ulysses Awakes’. A ground-breaking new short film of the dance, created during an Aldeburgh Residency, will be released in late 2017.