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UROBOROS ENSEMBLE

A brief outline of the Ensemble's history and activities
 
  

Uroboros Ensemble was formed in 1982, bringing together some of Britain's most accomplished and best-known instrumentalists. The group was founded by the composer Gwyn Pritchard who remains their current Artistic Director and Conductor. After a dormant period from 1996 to 2003 the group was revived, retaining some of the original players who have been joined by new-comers, once again drawn from Britainís most distinguished performers of contemporary chamber music. The ensembleís concerts may include from three to eighteen players.

Uroboros Ensemble has performed extensively throughout Britain and abroad, and presented a number of major concert series in London. They have appeared in international festivals including the Warsaw Autumn Festival, The International New Music Week, The Reggello International Festival in Italy, The Weimar Spring Days for Contemporary Music and many others. They have made many recordings for radio and television, and can be heard on CD on the Etcetera label.

Primarily a group specialising in contemporary music, Uroboros Ensemble is noted for presenting programmes that embrace an unusually wide range of musical styles originating from the UK and from many countries around the world.  Several distinguished composers have written pieces specially for them and they have given numerous world and national premiŤres, including music by Lutoslawski, Firsova, Finnissy, Ichiyanagi, Wuorinen, Stšbler, Ambrosini, Woolrich, Cutler, and many others. As well as commissioning and performing new works Uroboros Ensemble is equally committed to giving further performances of contemporary  pieces that have been unduly neglected; and their concerts may occasionally include music from the 'classical' repertoire, which is always carefully selected so as to create a pathway leading to greater enjoyment and understanding of the contemporary works being performed.

From 2003 to 2005 Uroboros Ensemble was co-promoter of the Reggello International Festival in Italy, which included performers from many different countries.  As the resident ensemble Uroboros Ensemble both performed in concerts and organised the Reggello International Composers? Competition in association with the festival, giving performances of the winning works in both Italy and London.

In 2013 Uroboros Ensemble, in partnership with Accademia San Felice, promoted the first London Ear festival of contemporary music, based in the Waterloo area of London.  This annual festival has a strong international profile, inviting world-class ensembles and soloists from many countries to perform recent music both by established and by less well known or emerging composers, and representing musical styles that are less frequently heard in the UK.  Within the festival framework associated events include the London Ear Composers' Competition, a Featured Young Performer project, masterclasses and educational workshops for children. For more information see www.londonearfestival.co.uk

From itís beginning Uroboros Ensemble's has been committed to an extensive educational programme in which people of all ages and all levels of experience are encouraged to explore music, especially contemporary music, and also to develop their own skills in both performance and composition.  The Ensemble has organised many composers' workshops from which significant new talents have subsequently emerged.  Concerts are frequently preceded by special open rehearsals with commentaries to allow listeners new insights into music and its performance.

Uroboros Ensemble also promotes performances by other musicians sharing similar artistic concerns. In addition to administrating the London Ear festival, groups or soloists may be invited to visit Britain to undertake tours arranged and coordinated through the Ensemble's office, such as the outstanding Basle Soloists?UK tour which included three events at The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and appearances in London and other British cities; and the recent appearance in London of Modern Ensemble from South Korea.  Uroboros has also promoted concerts for younger, emerging artists such the now acclaimed British pianist Nicolas Hodges.

Although Uroboros Ensemble events are often presented by independent promoters such as festivals, much of their more pioneering work has been promoted by the Ensemble itself, and has been financed by grants from trusts and foundations which have included the 'PRS Foundation' the 'Hinrichsen Foundation' and many others, or from public funding sources such as The Arts Council, The British Council and the (former) Regional Arts Associations; also by donations from private supporters and corporate sponsors.  Uroboros Ensemble is a Registered Charity and a Limited Company.

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