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Since forming in 2012, 12 Ensemble have resolutely followed their own musical path. Max Ruisi and Eloisa-Fleur Thom, the artistic directors of this pioneering string collective, talk to Stephen Moss.

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Their vision is not just bold but quietly revolutionary and rather inspiring.  We’ve met at a time of a torrent of bad news in the classical music world, and here are two young musicians proposing a total makeover for the artform, and doing it with the complete self-confidence of gilded youth.

‘Classical music is big art,’ says Ruisi. ‘It needs to be back in the same conversation as film and philosophy, and you can do that without diluting it. People find that really challenging with us, because they see that we do new music as well as Strauss and Beethoven, and they ask, “Well, what are you?”’  This refusal to be pigeonholed, and to do things in a distinctive way, is refreshing, and may point a way forward for an industry which needs to find a new, evangelical sense of purpose and to express it with complete freedom.

"This is something on the minds of everyone from our generation of musicians”, says Thom. “We don’t want this to seem like a dying art. We want to draw audiences in and change the perception by being ourselves and having personality."



Cellist Max Ruisi and violinist Eloisa-Fleur Thom on their new release on Platoon. This week on Gramophone podcast, Editor Martin Cullingford is joined by the co-founders of the 12 Ensemble to talk about their beautiful and fascinating new album on the Platoon Label, 'Metamorphosis', featuring music by Edmund Finnis, Claude Vivier, Oliver Leith and Richard Strauss.

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