A brief overview
The Benda Chamber Orchestra was founded in Ústí nad Labem in 1956. It is an amateur orchestra consisting of 22 players of stringed and wind instruments. From the outset the orchestra has given itself the special task of interpreting mainly baroque and classical music in its original style, concentrating chiefly on Czech music. For this reason the orchestra adopted the name of the famous Czech Benda family of musicians.
In order to successfully achieve these aims it was necessary for the founders and members of the orchestra to undertake historical research in archives of music both in the Czech Republic and abroad. In this way the orchestra succeeded in creating a comprehensive collection of music materials, which contains not only photocopies of old original scores and scores on microfilm, but also a large amount of newly scored materials, especially of music written by Czech composers of the 17th and 18th centuries. The orchestra draws on this archive for its work.
Over the many years of its existence the orchestra has given about 320 public concerts not only in different towns in the Czech Republic, but also in Germany and Switzerland. Recordings of over 100 baroque and classical works have been made for the radio, and 2 CDs of Czech 18th-century music have been produced for PANTON. For most of the compositions it is their first present-day performance.
The musical activity, and mainly the dramaturgy of the Benda Chamber Orchestra, is unique, and has been appreciated not only at home, but also abroad. Throughout its existence, the Benda Chamber Orchestra has cooperated with numerous well-known professional musicians. But many young musicians and singers, too, have been given the opportunity to play or sing with the orchestra. In addition, joint performances with a number of Czech and foreign choirs have likewise been successful.
The Benda Chamber Orchestra is a member of the Czech Association of Non-professional Chamber and Symphonic Orchestras (ANKST), of the European Union of Amateur Orchestras, and of the World Federation of Amateur Orchestras.