Association of British Orchestras

Britten Sinfonia

Contact details

Compass House 80 Newmarket Road Cambridge
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 an Associate Ensemble at the Barbican in London, has residencies across the east of England in Norwich, Cambridge (where it is an Ensemble-in-Residence at the University) and Saffron Walden, where the orchestra became Resident Orchestra at Saffron Hall in Autumn 2016. The orchestra also performs a chamber music series at Wigmore Hall and appears regularly at major UK festivals including the Aldeburgh Festival and BBC Proms. The orchestra’s growing international profile includes regular touring to North and South America and Europe. The orchestra made its debut in China in May 2016 with a three-concert residency in Shanghai, as well as performances in Beijing and Wuhan.

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 2017–18, Britten Sinfonia collaborates with artists including Thomas Adès, Sir Mark Elder, Jeremy Denk, Cambridge’s King’s College Choir, Elizabeth Kulman, Nicolas Hodges and Ailish Tynan, with premieres from composers including Mark-Anthony Turnage, Emma-Ruth Richards, Leo Chadburn and Nik Bärtsch. Following UK performances, many of these collaborations will tour internationally with performances in some of the world’s finest concert halls. In 2018 the orchestra will perform for the second time at the Philharmonie in Paris, and will embark on a summer tour of South America.

Central to Britten Sinfonia’s artistic programmes is a wide range of creative learning projects within both schools and the community including the talented youth ensemble Britten Sinfonia Academy and annual composition competition, OPUS2017, offering unpublished composers the chance to receive a professional commission.

In 2013 Britten Sinfonia was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Ensemble having previously won the Chamber Music Award in 2009 and the Ensemble Award in 2007. Britten Sinfonia recordings have been Grammy nominated, received a Gramophone Award and an ECHO/Klassik Recording Award, and most recently were awarded a BBC Music Magazine Award for its recording of James MacMillan’s Oboe Concerto. In 2014 Britten Sinfonia was nominated for an Olivier Award for its collaboration with the Richard Alston Dance Company.

Annual Conference

The next ABO conference will take place in Bristol,
hosted by Bristol Beacon, from 24-26 January 2024.