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The Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra (DECO) was founded in September 2008, with its inaugural concert on 31 January 2009 in Lichfield Cathedral – its home base.

The orchestra is formed from the highest calibre classical musicians in the Midlands, with a strong emphasis on the employment of young, exciting players in the early stages of their professional careers. DECO has forged strong relationships with local choirs including the Ceramic Choir of Stafford, the Mansfield choral society, Repton choral society and Lichfield Cathedral’s own Chamber Choir and Cathedral Chorus.

DECO’s repertoire is mainly popular and accessible classical music. 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. All our rehearsals in the Cathedral are open to visitors. DECO’s highly successful opening years have included two broadcasts on Classic FM including a complete orchestral concert broadcast in October 2010 as one of Classic FM’s “Full Works” series. Following this success DECO was invited to participate in the Lichfield Festival performing Paul Patterson’s Little Red Riding Hood. DECO has also attracted the attention of the country’s finest performers.

Our first soloist was Simon Blendis (leader Schubert Ensemble and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) and other notable soloists include Rowena Calvert (cello), George Caird (oboe), Lisa Nelsen (flute) and Jack Liebeck (Classical Brit Award winning violinist).

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