About Us

_MG_8253The Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra (DECO) is formed from the highest calibre classical musicians in the West Midlands, with a strong emphasis on the employment of young, exciting players in the early stages of their professional careers. DECO’s Artistic Director is Alexander Laing, and the Conductor is Philip Scriven.

DECO is based in Lichfield Cathedral where it performs two or three concerts a year. It aims to draw the local community into the world of classical music in the inspiring setting of one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the country. The orchestra has a fresh approach to concert going, with a commitment to bringing to a wider audience the pleasure and excitement of hearing classical music played to the highest standard. DECO’s remit also includes sharing the experience of the live orchestral sound with young people, who will form both the audiences, and potentially the providers, of classical music into the future. (Children’s tickets for the evening concerts are only £5.00.) DECO’s repertoire is therefore mainly popular and accessible classical music, though programmes have also included Strauss oboe Concerto and Leighton Veris Gratia. We have also given special concerts for and with children such as Paul Patterson’s Little Red Riding Hood as part of the Lichfield Festival

DECO was founded in September 2008, with its inaugural concert on 31 January 2009. Our first soloist was Simon Blendis (leader of the Schubert Ensemble and the London Mozart Players). Subsequent soloists have included Jack Liebeck (Brit award winning violinist), George Caird (oboe) and Lisa Nelsen (flute)

DECO is also available for hire and already regularly appears with choral societies including the Lichfield Cathedra Chorus, Mansfield Choral Society, the Ceramic Choir and Repton Choral Society. We have performed smaller works such as Handel’s Messiah and also huge ones such as the Verdi Requiem We are a highly flexible ensemble, which (as the name implies) can ‘evolve’ into any combination of players required. The chamber orchestra is the most usual formation, but smaller ensembles and indeed full symphony orchestra numbers.