About the Tyneside Chamber Orchestra

The TCO was founded in 1956 by Michael Hall, then a music student at Newcastle University, and who, two years later, founded the Northern Sinfonia. Dr. Arthur Milner, who was its director for many years, converted it into a string orchestra for talented amateur players.

Throughout its history the orchestra has specialised in chamber works, and since 1961 has concentrated mainly on the string orchestra repertoire, with the occasional addition of works with wind and brass instruments and timpani.

Over the years the orchestra has played with an impressive list of professional soloists, including Leon Goossens, Denis Matthews and section leaders of the Northern Sinfonia. It also has a long tradition of encouraging talented local young players as soloists, many of whom have gone on to have distinguished careers in the music profession. Recent such players are Gerald Gregory, violin, Calum Moulton, viola, Christopher Murray, Deborah Chandler and Anna Menzies, cello, Roger Moseley and Adam Taylor, piano, John Pratt, horn and Louisa Stanway, oboe. Orchestra leaders Pauline Aitchison, Claire Gates, Emma Fisk and Ed Cross have also taken their turns as soloists.

The orchestra has worked with several different musical directors over the years. These have all been distinguished local musicians. Michael Hall and Arthur Milner were followed by Percy Lovell, Noel Broome, Chris Griffiths, George Burrows, Meng Khaw, Roger Jay, Colin Start, and Simon Fidler. The repertoire of the TCO has reflected the interests of these musicians and included choral works and opera in addition to the standard chamber orchestra repertoire. Through these connections it accompanied the Newcastle Bach Choir under Percy Lovell, and Musica Johannis under Noel Broome.

Concerts are played in various venues in and around Tyneside, with summer ones sometimes providing a day out in the country in places like Shotley Bridge, Corbridge, Lanercost, Hexham, and Alwinton.