The c/o chamber orchestra grows out of a simple idea:
“What does it mean to make music, together?”
Working from the beginning without a conductor, c/o takes its name from the idea of stewardship and responsibility. A letter addressed with “c/o” does not arrive directly, but is passed on in the care of another. A composer puts pen to paper, but it only becomes music when brought to life by musicians – each and every performance anew.
Making music together means that collaboration is at the heart of our work. Our guest artists, such as Nils Landgren, Fransisco Lopez Martin, and Alban Gerhardt and Gergana Gergova, are not just soloists who drop in to play the next stop on their tour, but are part of the creative process from the very start.
c/o takes the idea of being a “chamber” orchestra seriously. Chamber music means being both clear and flexible, leading and following, knowing when to step forward and when to step back. The musicians come from throughout Europe, East and West, from over a dozen different countries. Without one leader providing a singular vision, the voices and personalities of each musician combine, negotiate, struggle and forge a distinctive way forward together.
It is the result of that process that makes c/o special. In concert, you hear 30 voices working together to capture something unique. The repertoire is as diverse as the orchestra itself: chamber music and symphonies, baroque and world-premieres, but whatever the music is, the experience is unmistakably c/o.
From the Individual to the Group
Making music without a conductor means the c/o chamber orchestra is a unique laboratory for the ideas of participation and cooperation that are integral to working together in the 21st century.
Starting with a project supported by the Stiftung Paretz in Brandenburg, Germany in 2018, c/o is working to explore what it means to work together, how the demands of chamber music help us learn to get the best out of ourselves as both individuals and groups, and how we can share those experiences and that knowledge across disciplines and cultures.
What We Play
is Who We Are
We are fascinated by borders – when does chamber music stop and an orchestra begin? 10 musicians, 15, 20, never? That tension, the idea of a “chamber” orchestra, is part of our basic identity, and we are constantly searching for ways to challenge our assumptions about what it means to be an orchestra.
The nature of the c/o chamber orchestra also means that we have the freedom to explore music that is a bit off the beaten path. Whether Gustav Helsted, Hugo Kaun, Emile Bernard, or Alexandre Tansman, we love finding works and composers that deserve more attention.
We are always working to discover new music as well, and work closely with composers such as Michael Ippolito to bring music to life that was conceived and tailored to c/o.
Passing It On
Sharing music does not stop, or start, at the concert door. With each project we do, we search for partners to help share our experiences.
With support from the A.P Moller Fund, the D’Addario company and others, we have been able to work closely with school orchestras and young students to share our passion for creating art together.