"The Nash are chamber music royalty." The Sunday Times
The Nash Ensemble, Resident Chamber Ensemble at Wigmore Hall since 2010, is acclaimed for its adventurous programming and virtuoso performances. It presents works from Haydn to the avant-garde, and is a major contributor towards the recognition and promotion of contemporary composers: by the end of the 2016/17 season the group will have premièred over 300 new works, of which well over 200 have been specially commissioned from 225 different composers.
An impressive collection of recordings illustrates the same varied and colourful combination of classical masterpieces, little-known neglected gems and important contemporary works. Releases receiving critical acclaim include all the Mozart String Quintets, Russian chamber music, chamber works by Schumann and Joaquin Turina, and chamber works by Czech composers incarcerated in the Theresienstadt concentration camp between 1941 and 1945. Recent releases include a CD of Hollywood composers for Hyperion, Harrison Birtwistle's The Moth Requiem for Signum Classics and a chamber music CD of works by Max Bruch for Hyperion. In June the Nash will record works by Ernst von Dohnányi and there are plans for a recording of chamber works by Julian Anderson for NMC.
In its 2016/17 series at Wigmore Hall the Nash Ensemble combined the music of Vienna, from the 'Viennese Classical school' of Haydn and Mozart to Mahler and the 'second Viennese school' of Schoenberg and his pupils, with music from Hungary and the Czech lands. Continuing the ongoing and fruitful collaboration between the Ensemble and the Royal Academy of Music, there was a special concert in February in which members of the Nash and students from the RAM combined 'Side by Side', to perform rarely heard early works by Schoenberg, Webern and Berg.
The Ensemble's 2017/18 season at Wigmore Hall begins in September with its annual selection of the best of British contemporary music - Nash Inventions - bringing together works by three composers once united under the banner of 'the Manchester school'. Alexander Goehr's latest chamber work, scored for an intriguingly mixed quintet, is a Wigmore Hall commission for the Ensemble; Sir Harrison Birtwistle's single movement Trio was first heard in Germany in 2011 (with Adrian Brendel, now the Nash's cellist, among the performers); Sir Peter Maxwell Davies's acclaimed String Quintet was first performed in a Nash Inventions concert in March 2015 as part of the Ensemble's 50th anniversary celebrations, and the Mancunian connection is maintained through another new Nash commission - a Quintet for clarinet and strings by John Casken.
The main theme for the 2017/18 Wigmore Series is entitled The French Connection, juxtaposing music from Stravinsky's French period with music by a variety of composers from the rich French tradition - including Saint-Saëns and Fauré, the great impressionists Debussy and Ravel, and the 'bright young things' of the generation that emerged after the First World War which included Poulenc and Milhaud.
The Nash has received many accolades including two Royal Philharmonic Society awards in the chamber music category 'for the breadth of its taste and its immaculate performance of a wide range of music'.
The Nash Ensemble's artistic director Amelia Freedman has received many honours including an FRAM and the MBE, which was conferred upon her in 1989. In 1996 she was appointed Chevalier dans l'Ordre National du Mérite by the President of France for her services to French music. She has also been awarded the prestigious Leslie Boosey Award by the Performing Right Society and the Royal Philharmonic Society. In June 2006 she was awarded the CBE in the Queen's birthday honours, for her services to music. In 2010 she was awarded the Officier dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture, for her services to classical music. In 2011 she received the IAMA award 'as a sign of great respect for her work from the artist management profession'. Amelia Freedman was Head of Classical Music at the Southbank Centre from 1995 to 2006. She has been the Artistic Director of the Bath Mozartfest since 1995 and the Bath Bachfest since 2011.