About Us

The New English Orchestra, founded in 1976, is a musical ensemble comprising professional instrumentalists from all over the United Kingdom

It operates together with a company of up to 50 singers producing performances of great variety and power.  As well as playing the traditional classics such as symphonies, oratorios and concerti, the NEO has commissioned and premiered new works by contemporary composers such as Michael Finnissy, David Bedford and Michael Berkeley.  Both players and singers have great musical flexibility and wide ranging tastes. This enables exciting jazz and world music performances which, combined with the classics, mark the NEO out as ground-breaking and forward-looking. 

The particular speciality of the ensemble is its interest in spiritual music.  The fact that the players and singers are believing Christians, lends a noticeable vibrancy to their performances of the great Christian masterworks such as Handel’s Messiah, Bach cantatas and music from the English Renaissance. Perhaps even more interesting however, is to observe how different a secular classic might be when looked at, with integrity, from a Christian perspective. 

The NEO can often be encountered in Salzburg Dom during the opening days of the prestigious Salzburg Music Festival.  It can be found performing daring spatial effects in the Pantheon, Rome and in concert halls and cathedrals throughout Great Britain. 

A small ensemble may appear in a little Parish church in the West Country, or a large ensemble may be televised across the globe as it was in September 2010 when the NEO led the worship in Hyde Park for the Pope’s 80,000 strong Vigil of Prayer for young people. 

As well as its ecumenical work in church contexts, it can be heard performing concerts around Europe which might feature, for example, a virtuoso Vivaldi concerto, a Haydn Symphony, a Bruch Fantasia for Cello and Orchestra, some African music and dance, a Scottish reel, some Gospel and some jazz works, - exhilarating entertainment, performed with total commitment and integrity.

 

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