• Founded 1992
Often appears with
Britain's Britten Sinfonia is a chamber orchestra that, in its own words, "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."
Founded in 1992, the orchestra is based in Cambridge, England. Among the founders was the choral conductor Nicholas Cleobury, but the Sinfonia has operated without a principal conductor or artistic director. Instead, its artistic direction is shaped by collaboration with outside figures, many of them of international stature. The Sinfonia, made up of freelance musicians working on a project-by-project basis, performs about 70 concerts a year, generally moving from place to place and taking up short residences in cities where it works with local musicians and performing arts presenters. The ensemble's project collaborators have included composers (Thomas Adès, Sally Beamish, Roderick Williams, Brett Dean, James MacMillan), performers (Ian Bostridge, Iestyn Davies, Polyphony, Pekka Kuusisto), conductors (Masaaki Suzuki), and jazz and popular musicians (Brad Mehldau, Rufus Wainwright).
An Associate Ensemble at the Barbican in London, the Britten Sinfonia has also held residencies in Norwich, Cambridge (where it is an Ensemble-in-Residence at the University), and elsewhere. The group has its own chamber music series at London's Wigmore Hall and has appeared at the prestigious Aldeburgh Festival and BBC Proms. The Britten Sinfonia has toured North and South America, continental Europe, and, in May of 2016, China, with residencies and performances in Shanghai, Beijing, and Wuhan. The Britten Sinfonia, a nonprofit organization and registered charity, encompasses a Creative Learning Department that offers the SinfoniaCast podcast, pre-concert talks, projects for young people and schools, Family Music Days, and corporate training exercises.