The Bristol Ensemble
The Bristol Ensemble is the city’s only professional orchestra, comprising a core of 25 musicians and a further 50 musicians, all experienced players in a range of musical genres. The Ensemble has flexible configurations, from a piano trio through to full symphony orchestra.
The orchestra holds a pivotal position in South West music, presenting a varied programme of concerts and events in the region’s major venues. It was founded in 1994 by its Artistic Director and lead violinist Roger Huckle. Roger studied with Frederick Grinke, and was a regular member of Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic. Roger now dedicates his time to directing and developing the Bristol Ensemble as well as spending time in Bergen, Norway.
The Ensemble has worked with outstanding international artists and soloists, including Dame Evelyn Glennie, Freddy Kempf, Peter Donohoe, Andrei Gavrilov, Chloë Hanslip, Matthew Barley, Alan Schiller, Willard White, Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, Andy Shephard, Wayne Marshall, Leslie Garrett, Emma Johnson, Natalia Lomeiko and Jiafeng Chen. The orchestra is known for collaborations with other art forms including film and media work, as well as its highly acclaimed contemporary music series Elektrostatic at the Colston Hall, working with artists such as Gabriel Prokofiev, Juice, Get The Blessing, Charles Johnston, USA group Eighth Blackbird and Bhangra group RSVP. Through Elektrostatic Bristol Ensemble has commissioned over 50 new works by British composers.
Film and TV engagements include music for BBC Bristol Natural History Unit and TV productions such as the David Attenborough series Life in Cold Blood. The Ensemble has also recorded soundtracks for several computer games, and produced several CDs. Among recent films, Any Human Heart won a BAFTA and an Ivor Novello award for best music score for Bristol composer Dan Jones.
In addition to its public performances, the Bristol Ensemble runs Preludes, an education programmes for children. Preludes is an inspirational, long-term classical music education project in which primary school children learn to read music, sing and play a range of instruments in an inclusive and supportive setting. Its success has been celebrated with the award of the inaugural St George’s Prize For Music.