12 Ensemble: In the driving seat

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Formed in 2012, conductorless London-based string group the 12 Ensemble has taken an unconventional path to making a name for itself, as artistic directors Eloisa-Fleur Thom and Max Ruisi tell Toby Deller

‘Our first few concerts were kind of fun and we didn’t necessarily plan into the future too much,’ remembers Eloisa-Fleur Thom, co-artistic director and principal violin of London-based string chamber orchestra the 12 Ensemble. ‘But I think it was always a dream of ours to be able to develop a group where we have artistic control and are able to shape the way we present our idea of classical music to our audiences.’

Without the infrastructure of masterclasses, competitions and subsequent concert opportunities that can help sustain quartets and trios in the early stages of their careers, that development has meant nearly a decade of self-promoted concerts and recordings. As well as making guest appearances at festivals and in concert series, the 12 Ensemble has collaborated with a growing number of artists from different genres live and on disc (including the 2019 album Sound of Silence by classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić and the recently released Carnage by Australian rock elders Nick Cave and Warren Ellis)…

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