Welcome to the website of the Phacelia Ensemble!

Since my early childhood I have had a love for piano concertos, orchestra and chamber music repertoire. I started learning piano and violin at the age of six and shortly after joined the children’s choir, later on the church choir. I performed piano solo recitals, but I also had the opportunity to play more orchestra and oratorio repertoire as a violinist. In my teenage years I joined the state youth orchestra as a violinist and played in chamber music groups as a pianist. In addition, I often had the chance to play piano concertos in Germany. This musical foundation left me with a deep passion for these genres and they continue to be important to me today. 

The vision for this ensemble first came to me during my studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In the piano concerto exam, the convention is to perform with second piano accompaniment. To me this failed to give proper voice to the music so I searched for a better way. This led me to discover transcriptions of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 2 for piano and string quartet. I decided to transcribe my own version, where I included the double bass in support of the lower section and to give the ensemble more flexibility when voicing the wood wind parts. Having always been of the opinion that many piano concertos are large scale chamber music pieces, this set up turned into the perfect combination of chamber music and solo playing. This first transcription opened up a whole new world of sound and a new way of combining it in the concert repertoire and programming.

The beauty of working through an ensemble is its flexibility, where we can cover any genre or form be it string trios, quartets to piano quartet, quintet, sextet and even transcriptions of symphonies such as Mahler Symphonies. 

In the long term my personal goal is to use the advantage of having piano and five strings to highlight lesser known works from all eras including pieces by great female composers. As well as working with modern composers to either transcribe pieces for us or write new pieces to be included in our programmes.

The Phacelia Ensemble is a vision I had for a long time and with my immensely talented colleagues I can finally make my wish come true and enjoy playing my most favourite pieces. 

Elisabeth Streichert 

Artistic Director