The Nash Ensemble has built up a remarkable reputation as one of Britain’s finest and most adventurous chamber groups, and through the dedication of its founder and artistic director Amelia Freedman and the calibre of its players, has gained a similar reputation all over the world. The repertoire is vast, and the imaginative, innovative, and unusual programmes are as finely architectured as the beautiful Nash terraces in London from which the Group takes its name.
Not that the Nash Ensemble is classically restricted; it performs with equal sensitivity and musicality works from Mozart to the Avant Garde. Indeed, it is one of the major contributors towards the recognition and promotion of many leading composers. By the end of the 2004/05 season, the Group had performed nearly 300 new works, including 110 commissions of pieces especially written for them, providing a legacy for generations to come.
An impressive collection of recordings illustrates the same varied and colourful combination of classical masterpieces, little-known neglected gems and important contemporary works. The Ensemble’s recordings such as the Hyperion British Composers series are often nominated for awards, including the complete Walton Façade with Eleanor Bron and Richard Stilgoe, and a Vaughan Williams vocal disc with John Mark Ainsley, which was nominated for a 2001 Gramophone Award.
The Nash’s most recent releases include Brahms String Sextets and Piano Quartets, and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trios for ONYX, and the Octet for the Wigmore Hall Live label, a Dvorak chamber music recording, chamber music by Josef Suk, and again for ONYX, chamber music by Mark-Anthony Turnage in an album entitled 'This Silence' which was nominated for a 2006 Gramophone Award. The Ensemble has also made numerous recordings for Virgin Classics and CRD and further contemporary music discs for NMC.
The Nash makes many foreign tours; concerts have been given throughout Europe, the USA, South America, Australia and Japan. The Group are regular visitors to many music festivals and are heard on the radio, television, at the South Bank, the BBC Proms, at music clubs throughout the country and at Wigmore Hall, where their regular series have been enthusiastically received.
The Nash Ensemble has won numerous accolades including The Edinburgh Festival Critics music award "for general artistic excellence" and in 1989 The Royal Philharmonic Society’s small ensemble award "for the breadth of its taste and its immaculate performance of a wide range of music". The Group received its second RPS award in the chamber ensemble category for the year 2002. The RPS jury wrote that they "were particularly impressed not only with the superb ensemble playing, but also by the quality and musicality of the individual players". Such a group is surely an integral part of British musical life and true ambassadors for the country.
In 2004/5 the Nash celebrated its 40th anniversary to great acclaim: "It was a Nash programme par excellence ..." Sunday Times
"Bravo Nash Ensemble - here’s to your next 40 years " Daily Telegraph
At the heart of the series were performances of ten newly commissioned works, ranging from the younger generation of composers to those who are indisputably the leaders in their field.
The Nash’s artistic director Amelia Freedman has received many honours including an FRAM and the MBE which was conferred upon her in 1989, an Honorary Doctorate from Bath University in 1993 for her distinguished services to chamber music and the Bath International Festival, of which she was the Director from 1986 to 1993, and in 1996 was appointed Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite by the President of France for her services to French music. In that year she also received the Cobbett Gold Medal for services to the art of chamber music, presented by The Worshipful Company of Musicians. She has been awarded the prestigious Leslie Boosey Award by the Performing Right Society and the Royal Philharmonic Society for her "unfailing commitment to the commissioning and programming of contemporary classical music and her support for young composers throughout her career". She is a former Head of Music at London's South Bank Centre and has been Artistic Director of the Bath Mozartfest since 1995.
Ian Brown (piano), Marianne Thorsen (violin), Lawrence Power (viola), Malin Broman (violin), Paul Watkins (cello), Duncan McTier (double bass), Philippa Davies (flute), Gareth Hulse (oboe), Richard Hosford (clarinet), Ursula Leveaux (bassoon), Richard Watkins (horn), Lucy Wakeford (harp)