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The Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) was founded in 1997 based on the shared vision of being a free and international ensemble, dedicated to creating and sharing exceptional experiences in classical music. With 45 members spanning 20 different countries at its core, the MCO works as a nomadic collective of passionate musicians uniting for specific tours in Europe and across the world. The orchestra is constantly on the move: it has, to date, performed in over 40 countries across five continents. It is governed collectively by its management team and orchestra board; decisions are made democratically with the participation of all musicians.

The MCO’s sound is characterized by the chamber music style of ensemble playing among its alert and independent musical personalities. Its core repertoire, ranging from the Viennese classical and early Romantic periods to contemporary works and world premieres, reflects the MCO’s agility in crossing musical boundaries.

The orchestra received its most significant artistic impulses from its founding mentor, Claudio Abbado, and from Conductor Laureate Daniel Harding. The MCO works closely with a network of Artistic Patners who inspire and shape the orchestra in long-term collaborations. Current MCO Artistic Partners  include pianist Mitsuko Uchida and violinist Leif Ove Andsnes, as well as violonist Pekka Kuusisto. Concertmaster Matthew Truscott leads and directs the orchestra regularly in chamber orchestra repertoire, while the MCO’s longstanding collaboration with Artistic Advisor Daniele Gatti focuses on larger symphonic works.

MCO musicians all share a strong desire to continually deepen their engagement with audiences. This has inspired a growing number of offstage musical encounters and projects that bring music, learning and creativity to communities across the globe. Unboxing Mozart creates a convergence of music, collaborative performance and urban gaming by inviting audiences to participate in the artistic process through sound boxes. Since 2012, Feel the Music has opened the world of musi to deaf and hard-of-hearing children through interactive workshops in schools and concert halls. MCO musicians are equally committed to sharing their passion and expertise with the next generation of musicians: since 2009, they have, through the MCO Academy, worked with young musicians to provide a high quality orchestral experience and a unique platform for networking and international exchange.