United strings of Europe
The United Strings of Europe
is shaped by a multi-cultural background and a drive to develop experimental and engaging programming.
Our guiding principle is very much about finding threads between different works and epochs, blending the familiar with the new, and hopefully delivering exciting and moving performances that encourage people to listen to works in different ways and to discover new repertoire.
Praised for our original programming and ‘virtuosically expressive’ playing (★★★★ The Times), we commission and arrange music from a variety of musical cultures and backgrounds, and perform regularly in Europe and the Middle East. Our recordings for BIS Records have been celebrated for their ‘compelling programmes’ (BBC Music Magazine) and for being ‘supremely executed’ (Stereophile Magazine).
To date we have released three full-length albums. Our album ‘Renewal‘ (January 2022) explores themes of loss and transformation with soprano Ruby Hughes, and was Editor’s Choice at Presto Music and one of Apple Music’s ‘10 Albums You Must Hear’ in February. Our debut album ‘In Motion’ has been described as “superbly played and vividly engineered’“ (Gramophone Magazine). In November 2022 we released our latest album ‘Tchaikovsky’ which was BBC Music Magazine’s ‘Orchestral Choice’ in February 2023.
We are continually seeking ways to re-imagine string playing and the concert experience. Our inter-disciplinary projects inspire us to move beyond our training, to stretch our thinking, and to find new ways to engage and enthral.
Our lockdown film ‘send back the echo’, a commission from composer Jasmin Kent Rodgman featuring deaf actor Vilma Jackson, explores issues around disability and social alienation. It premiered on BBC Arts and was selected for the London Short Film Festival. In 2022 we produced a ground-breaking show ‘Apollo Resurrected’ combining music, mime, dance and juggling. A retelling of Stravinsky’s ‘Apollo’ with new music by Joanna Marsh, the show premiered at King’s Place on 28 October followed by a performance at Northern Ballet in Leeds.
We believe in the power of music that connects, bridges divides and promotes cross-cultural understanding.
2022 saw us give our debut performances at Wilton’s Music Hall in London and the Victoria Hall in Geneva, open the Byline Festival and Festival on the Close, and hold residencies at the Southrepps Music Festival and Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival. We joined forces with Sansara Choir and Syrian oud player Basel Saleh for a concert of Sanctuary and Solidarity at St Martin-in-the-Fields featuring music by Caroline Shaw, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Buxtehude, a new commission by Lebanese composer Houtaf Khoury, and the UK premiere of ‘A Quiet Night by Ukrainian composer Natalia Tsupryk.
We are passionate about reaching new audiences, and engaging with different communities in the UK, across Europe and the Middle East.
Armed with the belief that music and ensemble playing can enrich people’s lives and promote cross-cultural understanding, we are committed to reaching new audiences through education work and initiatives that engage refugees and marginalised groups. We also seek ways to explore issues relevant to these communities through our artistic work.