© Gregory Batardon

The Geneva Chamber Orchestra

The Geneva Chamber Orchestra did not come by its name by chance: ever since its founding in 1992, the Orchestra’s home town of Geneva has been an integral part of its identity. Seeking to reflect the specificities of its 39 musicians, every season’s programme is built around a special theme. Preference is given to the classical and early romantic periods, but not without the occasional excursion into the late 19th century. The baroque repertoire likewise has its place, without being limited to arrangements for small ensembles. Last but not least, contemporary chamber music is judiciously incorporated into the GCO’s programmes, care being taken to ensure that it forms a coherent whole with the other works performed on any given evening.

Teaching and cultural outreach are two further mainstays of the mission of the GCO, which is closely involved in programmes and other forms of artistic collaboration with primary, secondary and upper secondary schools, Geneva’s Haute Ecole de Musique and Conservatoire Populaire de Musique, Danse et Théâtre, and the Activités culturelles service of Geneva University. The vocal arts – a Genevan tradition par excellence practiced by a large number of enthusiastic amateurs – form an integral part of the GCO’s activities. The Orchestra works together closely with a range of choirs, including le mOtet, le Chant Sacré, la Psallette, le Cercle Jean-Sébastien Bach, and the choirs of Geneva University, CERN, and the Grand Théâtre.

Thanks to close ties with the region’s most prestigious theatres and opera houses, it is not unusual for the GCO to be invited to collaborate with, for example, the Lausanne Opera, Geneva’s Grand Théâtre and the Opéra de Chambre de Genève. It also takes part in the concert series concerts de la Ville de Genève, and the Geneva international music competition, for which it is the main orchestra recording the compact discs presented to prize winners. The GCO also takes part in many festivals and other events held in the greater Geneva area and the region around Lake Geneva.

Supported by the city of Geneva, the canton and republic of Geneva and numerous private partnerships, the GCO cultivates its difference by striving to be original and demanding, and to have the courage of its convictions. Since September 2013, the musical and artistic director behind the Orchestra’s ambitions is the Dutch conductor Arie van Beek.