12 ensemble

"Polished readings... with rapt expressiveness"

Sunday Times

Following the success of their critically-acclaimed debut at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall this summer, the 12 ensemble return with a selection of brand new programmes for 2020 and beyond. Characteristically bold and innovative, these new programmes span hundreds of years and seamlessly combine core-classical masterpieces with contemporary greats and genre-bending new works commissioned by the ensemble. 


The 12 ensemble has rapidly developed a reputation as one of the UK's leading string orchestras. A bold, versatile and virtuosic ensemble, the group is built around a core of twelve of London’s finest and most exhilarating chamber musicians. Always playing without a conductor, the ensemble’s performances combine the raw energy, excitement and creativity of a string quartet with the breathtaking sound afforded by twelve brilliant string players.


The 12 ensemble perform at leading venues throughout the UK and Europe, with recent performances at the BarbicanBerlin Philharmonie and Hamburg Elbphilharmonie plus tours to South Korea, Iceland and Italy. In 2019 they made their BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall in Prom 36: Late-night Mixtape. Their debut album 'Resurrection', released in September 2018, has received widespread critical acclaim; “The 12 ensemble render the entire programme with fearless resolve. An impressive debut.” - Gramophone Magazine.

Founded in 2012 by Artistic Directors Eloisa-Fleur Thom (Principal Violin) and Max Ruisi (Principal Cello), the group’s youthful energy and passion for chamber music is at the heart of their music-making. Fearlessly programming bold new works alongside the greats of the string orchestral repertoire, the ensemble strives to bring exceptional music to as diverse an audience as possible. Performing a broad range of music, alongside the core formation of twelve players the group also perform regularly in formations ranging from duos to 23 strings and more.





(Beethoven 250)


Beethoven String Quartet in F minor Op.95 'Serioso'

Mahler Adagietto from Symphony No.5

Caroline Shaw Blueprint

Janacek String Quartet No.1 'Kreutzer Sonata' (dramatised with narration)

Rebel Rebel - the Beethoven effect.

The ‘Serioso’ quartet was an experiment; music written by a rebel to test the boundaries of  possibility, paving the way for those that followed. This spirit of innovation is celebrated in a programme which includes Pulitzer Prize winning composer Caroline Shaw's homage to Beethoven alongside a new arrangement of Janacek’s ‘Kreutzer Sonata’.




Tavener The Lamb

Prokofiev Visions Fugitives

Vasks Viatore

Arvo Pärt Fratres

Oliver Leith Honey Siren (new commission)

Sigur Ros Fljotavik

The Wanderer - Contemporary sounds & stories. 

A spiritual & futuristic journey through the 20th & 21st centuries, with Vasks’ seminal ‘Viatore’ at the heart of the programme (a work dedicated to Arvo Pärt) as well as a new commission from the Royal Opera House composer in residence Oliver Leith.




Webern Langsamer Satz

Hartmann Concerto Funebre

Schubert Death and the Maiden



Death & the Maiden - An elegy to hope, despair & humanity. Schubert’s late masterpiece provides the centrepiece for a searing programme combining the best of Romanticism through the ages.




Thomas Ades Nightfall + Days (Four Quarters)

Oliver Leith Honey Siren (new commission)

Shostakovich Chamber Symphony


Riot & Revolt - Revolutionaries in music. Shostakovich’s impassioned cry against politics and personal tragedy shares the stage with two unique voices in contemporary music, including a specially commissioned work from newly-appointed ROH Composer in Residence Oliver Leith.

Prokofiev Visions Fugitives; Feroce

Schubert 'Death & the Maiden' - Highlights

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