Program Books/Zurich Chamber Orchestra

Zurich Chamber Orchestra

In the 1940s, music student Edmond de Stoutz used his free time to regularly meet with a number of friends and make music together. The joy of pursuing their creative ideals and the group’s shared passion for chamber music gave rise to the desire to form a chamber orchestra. This led to the first public concert in Zurich in 1945. Seventy-eight years later, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra is one of the leading ensembles of its kind. For more than 50 years, de Stoutz was the inspiration that held the orchestra together. With his charismatic spirit, he excited musicians and audience alike and helped establish a large supporting network around the orchestra. After his era, the conductors Howard Griffiths, Muhai Tang, and Sir Roger Norrington shaped the sound and musical ideas of the ZCO. Since 2016, the orchestra has been playing without a permanent conductor. Instead, Music Director Daniel Hope leads the orchestra from his instrument, thereby following the dynamic principle of “play and conduct.”

The ZCO is a well-traveled orchestra. A few years after its foundation, it had already started giving concerts abroad. Today, the ZCO regularly visits international festivals such as the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the Rheingau Musik Festival, the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, and the Odessa Classics. Guest performances at leading concert halls, tours through European countries, America, Asia, and South Africa, as well as numerous critically acclaimed CD releases testify to the worldwide renown of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra.

The group’s repertoire is broadly based, extending from the Baroque through the Classical and Romantic eras to the present day. The ZCO is also notable for its work with musicians from fields such as jazz, folk music, and popular entertainment. Family concerts, outreach work with children and young people, and encouragement of young instrumentalists are in every way as important to the Zurich Chamber Orchestra as its close and continuing collaboration with world-renowned soloists.