Friday, March 1

Northern Chamber Orchestra returns to the stage in December

The Northern Chamber Orchestra, the oldest professional chamber ensemble in the North West of England, returns to the stage on Saturday 5th December to play two concerts for socially distanced audiences.

The concerts take place at the orchestra’s Macclesfield home, the Heritage Centre, and run for an hour each. The programme has been planned with social distancing guidelines in mind, meaning less space for musicians on the stage. The NCO’s leader and Artistic Director Nicholas Ward (violin) will lead a small ensemble in Haydn’s Violin Concerto in G major, a simple yet cheerfully lovely piece guaranteed to raise a smile. Either side of the Haydn, the NCO will also play a Mozart divertimento, Borodin’s beautiful Nocturne, and the twelfth of Mendelssohn’s string symphonies, written when he was just 14 years old.

The concerts follow an opening pair at the start of October, when the principal musicians of the NCO celebrated the 250th birthday of Beethoven, and another pair at the end of the month featuring the incredible British pianist Stephen Hough. Of the concerts, Nicholas Ward said “As we can only fit 100 safely into a 400-seat venue, we’ve come up with the cunning plan of performing twice in one evening. It’s tough on the musicians but the audiences have loved it, stamping their feet in applause, which is very welcome after eight months of silence.”

The concerts will be an hour long and the programme will be performed at 5.30pm and 8pm to allow for social distancing. For those unable to attend in person, the concert will also be recorded with the video available to rent for one week. Details of both options are available from the NCO’s website

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the NCO was forced to cancel the remainder of its 2019-20 season, along with the cancellation of the Buxton International Festival in July, for which the NCO are the house orchestra. However, the musicians were able to keep busy with online performances and a free outdoor concert in Buxton in July. The NCO’s outreach team also ran a series of care home concerts as part of its Mind Music series, which takes musicians into care homes to work with people living with dementia.

Full concert details:

Northern Chamber Orchestra with Nicholas Ward, violin

The Heritage Centre, Macclesfield

Saturday 5th December 5.30pm | 8.00pm | online

Mozart Divertimento in B flat K137

Borodin Nocturne

Haydn Violin concerto in G (with Nicholas Ward, violin)

Mendelssohn String symphony no 12 in G minor

Tickets and online video rentals available from