The I, CULTURE Orchestra (ICO) was formed in 2011 by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, as part of the cultural programme of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council. From its very beginnings the Council has focused on culture as a means to deepen the EU’s relationship with the countries of the Eastern Partnership (EaP).
Gathering together some of the most talented young musicians from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine, the twin aims of ICO are to form a great orchestra of international young musicians and to create an outstanding and innovative vehicle for positive cultural and social international development. In 2011, under conductors Sir Neville Marriner and Pavel Kotla, ICO performed its first international tour to great acclaim in some of Europe’s most prestigious concert halls, including the Berliner Philharmonie, London’s Royal Festival Hall and the Teatro Real in Madrid. 2012 included a return to the orchestra’s cultural homeland, with concerts throughout the EaP. The programme, featuring music by Tchaikovsky, Respighi, Szymanowski and Dvořák, was conducted by up and coming young Venezuelan Ilyich Rivas. HarrisonParrott is proud to be working together with I, Culture on its August/September 2013 tour, with performances in Scandinavian and Baltic countries.
Tutors for the orchestra come from some of the world’s leading orchestras, ensembles and music colleges, including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Moscow Conservatory, Royal Academy of Music, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Venezuela’s El Sistema, and the London Symphony Orchestra.
“Mørk and Karabits inspired each other into delivering an interpretation [of Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto] that can only be defined as world class. And when Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra was coloured with such an astonishing sound palette, [the concert] qualified for 5 stars… Karabits knows how to get the best out of a youth orchestra.” (Håkan Dahl, Göteborgsposten, September 2013)
“There’s no doubting the orchestra’s amazing verve and enthusiasm.” (Peter Culshaw, The Arts Desk, November 2011)
“Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony brought Neville Marriner to the platform – youth and experience in heartening juxtaposition.” (The Independent, Nov 2011)
"A hale and hearty Sir Neville Marriner took charge of the Tchaikovsky... this was an integrated performance avoiding hysteria, the first movement’s sections seamlessly negotiated into stormier waters. A lovely oboe solo introduced the Andantino, shapely and expressive, and the pizzicatos of the scherzo were fleet and gently strummed, woodwinds and brass bringing élan to the trio. The finale was exhilarating without being showy, light and shade still part of the mix to conclude a consistently musical and thoughtfully considered performance played with enjoyment and shared as such." (Classical Source, November 2011)