English Chamber Orchestra

English Chamber OrchestraThe English Chamber Orchestra (ECO) is the most recorded chamber orchestra in the world. Its discography contains 860 recordings of over 1,500 works with some of the world's greatest musicians. Based in London, England, the ECO has performed in more countries than any other orchestra. The ECO's appearance in January marks its first visit to Philadelphia.

Mark Laycock, Conductor

Mark LaycockMark Laycock’s continuing musical journey began as a violist, leading to studies with the Curtis String Quartet in Philadelphia. In his final year in conservatory, and as winner of the Leopold Stokowski Memorial Competition, he made his conducting début at age 21 with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Since then he has conducted more than 2,000 works with a wide array of orchestras and opera companies in Asia and Europe, as well as in Israel and North and South America.

Maestro Laycock has conducted the English Chamber Orchestra in London and in the United States, and appears regularly with the Wiener KammerOrchester, Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá, Orquesta Naçional de Costa Rica, and the Georges Enescu Philharmonic in Bucharest, among others. In 2013 he conducted a highly acclaimed return to The Philadelphia Orchestra. His performance with the Wiener KammerOrchester and the Westminster Symphonic Choir of the Beethoven 9th Symphony in January 2014 was taped by PBS for national telecast in its “Great Performances” series, and was recorded by Naxos Records for commercial CD release.

Mark Laycock’s productions with Opera New Jersey included Don Pasquale, The Barber of Seville, and H.M.S. Pinafore, all of which received sparkling response from audiences and critics alike. Additionally, a concert of Mendelssohn’s rarely performed Symphony No. 2 (“Lobgesang”) with the combined forces of Opera New Jersey and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra excited an enthusiastic review in The New York Times.

Mark Laycock was Music Director of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra for more than 20 years, transforming that orchestra from a small chamber orchestra into a full and critically acclaimed professional symphony orchestra awarded Citations of Excellence for two consecutive years from the State Arts Council of New Jersey for “exhibiting the highest standards of artistic excellence.” He was also Associate Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra from 2000–2003, and developed a reputation for stepping in to conduct without rehearsal, including performances of Ein Heldenleben, Carmina Burana, Brahms Symphonies, and a complete production of “Carmen” in Weimar, all to great acclaim.

As a published composer, his “American Fanfare”, written after the tragic events of September 11th, was used as the theme for the city of Columbus, Ohio’s 4th of July celebration last summer. His Flute Concerto for Jasmine Choi, “Songbird’s Journey”, premiered by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in July 2014, will receive its European premiere with the Wiener KammerOrchester in the Vienna Konzerthaus in the 2015–16 season. Mr. Laycock is currently working on a new commission for orchestra, chorus, and soprano, based on the Via Dolorosa. Aside from his musical endeavors, he has recently completed a book of poetry, “After Snow: Selected Poems After Life Began at 50”.

William H. Scheide (1914–2014)

William H. Scheide and Judith ScheideThe January concerts are presented through a gift from The New York Community Trust—The Scheide Fund and in honor of William H. Scheide who passed away on November 14, 2014 at the age of 100. A man of numerous talents and interests who spent a lifetime giving back, Mr. Scheide was a dedicated philanthropist, musician, J.S. Bach scholar as well as founder and artistic director of the Bach Aria Group, major rare book and manuscript collector, and a person who literally changed this country with his support for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund throughout his life. "He was truly a great man," said conductor Mark Laycock, a friend and internationally renowned music director.

Musicopia

MusicopiaFor 40 years, Musicopia has worked to inspire lifelong involvement in music through in-school concerts, workshops, assemblies, rehearsals, and residencies. Musicopia's programs promote the transformative powers of music, the value of music discipline and an appreciation of cultural diversity by bringing music performance and education to students and communities throughout the Delaware Valley, especially in areas lacking opportunity.