with rapt expressiveness”
leaving the music in charge...
The 12 ensemble is a pioneering un-conducted string orchestra rapidly developing a reputation as one the UK’s leading chamber orchestras. A modern, versatile and virtuosic ensemble, the group is built around a core of twelve of London’s finest chamber musicians. Always playing without a conductor, the ensemble’s world-class performances combine the energy, excitement and creativity of a small ensemble with the breathtaking sound afforded by a string orchestra.
Formed in 2012 by Artistic Directors Eloisa-Fleur Thom & Max Ruisi, the 12 ensemble’s unique approach to performing & programming sets them apart as a revolutionary classical ensemble for the 21st century. Exploring great music of the past alongside ground-breaking new commissions and evolving genres, the ensemble sets itself no limits and reaches diverse audiences with world-class performances. Flexible both in spirit and in size, alongside the core setup of 12 players the group performs in formations ranging from duos to 23 strings and beyond.
The 12 ensemble are in demand internationally, recently performing at leading venues including the Barbican, Royal Albert Hall, Berlin Philharmonie and Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg. The group have also made appearances at leading festivals worldwide, including a debut at the BBC Proms 2019, a residency at the Barbican’s Sound & Visions festival and performances in South Korea and Iceland, plus multiple broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. Their 2018 debut album Resurrection (including works by Lutoslawski and premiere recordings of works by Bryce Dessner & Kate Whitley), received wide critical acclaim from publications including Gramophone, The Strad & The Sunday Times.
Following the success of their debut album, the 12 ensemble will release their second album Death & the Maiden in January 2020. With their own arrangement of Schubert’s iconic string quartet at its heart, the record is a highly-charged personal journey through an evolving musical landscape, featuring accompanying works by Tavener and Icelandic band Sigur Rós plus a new commission from the ROH Composer in Residence Oliver Leith.
“Polished readings…with rapt expressiveness” - Sunday Times
“The 12 ensemble render the entire programme with fearless resolve. An impressive debut.” - Gramophone Magazine