The Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, Ottawa’s premiere professional chamber orchestra, was founded in 1976 by conductor Brian Law and string players from the National Arts Centre Orchestra. The orchestra is now directed by Kevin Mallon.
The orchestra’s repertoire is diverse – covering music from the Baroque era to 21st century music – having commissioned 100 new works from Canadian composers. The orchestra’s core of thirteen string players is regularly supplemented by guest performers. From baritones to sopranos, from marimba players to Klezmer specialists, guest artists have helped develop Thirteen Strings into one of the best-known and most eclectic chamber orchestras in Canada.
The Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra presents its own subscription concert series and has collaborated with many arts organizations in Ottawa. These have included: Le Festival de musique sacrée, Ottawa’s Seventeen Voyces, the Music and Beyond festival, the Cantata Singers, Ottawa’s Viennese Winter Ball, the West Fest street festival and the McGill Chamber Orchestra. In December 2013, the annual Christmas Concert was filmed for television and broadcast to over 140 countries on EWTN. Many of its concerts have been broadcast across Canada on CBC Radio and Radio-Canada.
The orchestra’s education project, the Junior Thirteen Strings, brings together a pool of talented youngsters to work alongside the professional members of the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra.
The Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra made its first recording on the Naxos label in June 2014, with a recording of Franz Beck’s six symphonies, opus 2.