Founded in 1983, the Schubert Ensemble enjoyed a remarkable 35-year career, the last 23 with unchanged personnel, before deciding that 2018 would be its final season. The Ensemble leaves behind a significant legacy, and can look back on many memorable highlights.
Touring took them to major venues across the world in cities such as Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles and Amsterdam, but also to many extraordinary and unlikely venues in countries such as Nicaragua, Guatemala, Malaysia, Malta and Lebanon, to name but a few. In the UK the Ensemble was well known to audiences through regular broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM, performances for festivals and concert series throughout the country and regular appearances at London’s Wigmore Hall, Kings Place and South Bank Centre. In 1998 their contribution to music in the UK was recognised with Royal Philharmonic Society’s Best Chamber Group Award, for which they were shortlisted again in 2010.
Commissioning was always an important part of the Ensemble’s work, and they established ongoing relationships with many of the UK’s leading composers. Their final major commission, by Judith Weir, was their 50th and was premiered at Wigmore Hall in March 2018. These pieces sit alongside over 45 shorter works that were commissioned through the Ensemble’s Chamber Music 2000 project for young and amateur musicians. As well as creating this groundbreaking education project, the Ensemble always prioritised working with young musicians, and carried out over 500 workshops both in the UK and around the world, as well as having residencies at Bristol University, Wiltshire Music Centre, the Hall for Cornwall, Cardiff University, and Birmingham Conservatoire.
In the recording studio the Ensemble produced over 25 critically acclaimed CDs of repertoire ranging from Brahms and Fauré through to John Woolrich and Judith Weir. The Ensemble also created an extensive library of live filmed concerts that can be accessed free of charge on its YouTube channel. Always searching out new and interesting repertoire, the Ensemble championed previously neglected masterpieces by composers such as Enescu, Martinu, Chausson, Farrenc, Korngold and Vaughan Williams, as a result of which these works are now more widely played. The Ensemble’s own edition of Enescu’s Piano Trio will be published in 2019.
The Ensemble’s legacy lives on in many ways, but most tangibly in a new scheme to promote and fund performances of its many commissions, details of which can be found here. For highlights of the Ensemble's 35 years, click on the dates at the top of this page.