The New European Strings (NES) is a chamber orchestra that “combines interpretive insight with exemplary playing; even suspicious purists will hear contrapuntal felicities that keyboard players can only suggest” (The New Yorker), founded by violinist and conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky in May 1990. Inspired by his experiences as a musician of both hemispheres, Sitkovetsky aimed to combine the qualities associated with the Russian String School, such as the uniform mastery of technique and total intensity of playing, with the Western world’s finest traditions of ensemble playing and a thorough knowledge of various musical styles.
The NES has performed with world renowned soloists including Martha Argerich, Bella Davidovich, Evgeny Kissin, Barbara Hendricks, Marcelo Alvarez, Evelyn Glennie, Sergei Nakariakov, Michael Collins, Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin, Tabea Zimmerman, Yuri Bashmet, Lynn Harrell, Truls Mørk, David Geringas, and Bobby McFerrin.
Sitkovetsky’s more than 60 transcriptions of some of the great chamber music masterpieces, from Bach and Dohnanyi to Stravinsky and Desyatnikov, have greatly expanded the orchestra’s extensive repertoire. Their album of Sitkovetsky’s transcription for strings of the Bach Goldberg Variations, out on Nonesuch Records, was received with rapturous critical acclaim and topped the charts. Further recordings came out on the Nonesuch, EMI, and the Hanssler Classics labels.
The NES has been the founding orchestra-in-residence of the Korsholm Music Festival in Finland; Umea International Festival in Sweden; Seattle Music Festival in the United States; “The Silk Route of Music” in Baku, Azerbaijan; and the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy.
The NES has toured extensively in Europe, U.S. and Russia, appearing on such prestigious stages as Vienna’s Musikverein, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, St.Petersburg’s Philharmonic Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Munich’s Herkulessaal, Rome’s Auditorio di Santa Cecilia, Luzern’s KKL, Madrid’s Auditorium National, Bucharest’s Athenaeum and Paris’s Auditorium du Louvre.
As live performances came to an end in Spring 2020, Dmitry Sitkovetsky formed the NES Virtual Ensemble. Together they recorded his Opus Coronavirus, Leonid Desyatnikov’s Bukovina Preludes, as well as new Bach Dance Suite transcriptions, which have been enthusiastically received by a virtual audience of more than 250,000. Finally, in June 2021, the NES returned to live performance in Oviedo, Spain, where they performed their signature work, Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Schubert/Mahler’s Death and the Maiden, and part of Sitkovetsky’s Opus Coronavirus.
In December 2022 Dmitry Sitkovetsky brought the NES to Berlin’s Konzerhaus, where they performed Bach Dance Suite in G, Desyatnikov Bukovina Preludes (both in transcription for strings by D.Sitkovetsky), as well as Fikret Amirov’s Nizami Symphony and Franghiz Ali-Zadeh Methamorphosis and Reqs (Dance) for strings.