Association of British Orchestras

Northern Chamber Orchestra

Contact details

Withington Works 30 Burton Road Withington Manchester
M20 3EB
Artistic Director and Leader, Nicholas Ward The Northern Chamber Orchestra (NCO) is one of the country’s top, professional chamber orchestras and was formed in the 1960s. Generally directed from the violin, it has gained a formidable reputation from its engaging and exciting concerts. The members of the NCO are distinguished professional chamber musicians who also play regularly as principals and soloists with other orchestras. The NCO enjoys its strong Northern connection and presents a successful, annual series of eight concerts at the Heritage Centre, Macclesfield, a new series in the Warrington area (Parr Hall and The Brindley) and concerts in Skipton, Settle, Blackburn, Tatton Park (Knutsford) and in Manchester. It has recently entered into learning and performance collaborations with Chetham’s School of Music. The Orchestra is also regularly engaged by established music and arts festivals, including Macclesfield’s Barnaby Festival, Ulverston’s Lake District Summer Music Festival and Buxton Festival, with which the NCO has a long association as the ‘Orchestra in Residence’ - accompanying the festival’s main opera productions. In July 2013, the NCO played for Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, a double-bill of Gounod La Colombe and Saint-Saens La Princesse Jaune and an Opera Gala Night. The NCO will also gave concerts in the Buxton Festival. The NCO delivers an extensive learning and development programme with schools, colleges and music groups, with workshops given in many of the Orchestra’s concert locations. The Orchestra’s ethos is to provide young people and adults with opportunities to engage with enjoyable and inspiring projects which are tailor-made to meet specific needs. As ‘Orchestra in Residence’ of Manchester Metropolitan University, the NCO is involved in a scheme of workshops with the MMU Institute of Education trainee teachers and their schools. On the recording front... the NCO’s CD of Malcolm Arnold’s Cello Concerto with Raphael Wallfisch was released in September 2011 and has received excellent reviews. “Raphael Wallfisch and the NCO relish its expressive and enlivening potential” Daily Telegraph. With over thirty CDs to its name, the majority being for Naxos, the NCO is now known in every continent. The recording of Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale was considered by BBC Radio 3’s CD Review programme to be the best English version and the recording for Naxos, Boccherini Cello Concertos nos. 9 -12 with Raphael Wallfisch, has also received critical acclaim. In the spring of 2013, the NCO made the first-ever recording of Geoffrey Bush’s Sinfonietta Concertante for Cello, with internationally-renowned cellist, Raphael Wallfisch.

Annual Conference

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