12 Ensemble

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About this artist

British string group 12 Ensemble, has gained wide critical and audience acclaim since its founding in 2012 for its innovative approach, democratic performance shaping, and conductorless ensemble playing. The group’s 2018 debut album, Resurrection, was the subject of strong anticipation. 12 Ensemble was founded by principal violinist Eloisa-Fleur Thom and principal cellist Max Ruisi, seeking to create a group marked by youthful enthusiasm for chamber music performance. The group has performed both traditional repertory and new music, and their concert schedule shows a similar duality: they have played at top traditional venues, including the Barbican in London and, in 2018, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the Berlin Philharmonie. But, as part of an effort to build new classical music audiences, the group has also performed at such venues as a London warehouse roof. 12 Ensemble received a PRS Resonate Award in 2018. Often working with British composer Max Richter, including a three-day residence at the Barbican Sounds & Visions Festival under Richter’s curation, the group has also collaborated with violist Simon Rowland-Jones, cellist Leonard Elschenbroich, violinist Mari Samuelsen, and tenor Nicky Spence. In a BBC Music Magazine interview, Thom described the group’s rehearsal process this way: “We do try to be democratic! Everyone chips in, but it helps that we’ve known each other a long time. The rehearsal process is something we’ve refined over the years; it used to be all free love and everyone having their say all the time, but we’d cover just three bars in an hour. So what we do now is work together a lot beforehand and find out the general direction of where we want to go.” In 2018, 12 Ensemble released Resurrection, featuring works by Lutoslawski and Bryce Dessner (the latter a commentary on the first, and the first an homage to Bartók), as well as works by Kate Whitley and John Woolrich. That year they commissioned a new work by composer Oliver Leith. ~ James Manheim

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