Created in 2004 by its founder and artistic director, Ben Crick, Skipton Camerata is a professional orchestra based in Skipton, North Yorkshire. In 2005, the orchestra took on the name Skipton Building Society Camerata in recognition of the generous support it continues to receive from its major sponsor, Skipton Building Society.
The orchestra’s core purpose is to perform classical music to a national standard in areas of limited to nil provision, making it possible for audiences in rural locations to experience artists and repertoire that their urban counterparts take for granted. Ben’s aim was to remove the barriers that prevent people from engaging with the classical repertoire, whether it is because of cost or distance. From its earliest days, the orchestra has delivered a mixture of free and heavily subsidised ticketed events in a variety of venues including concert halls, churches, market places, stately homes, pubs and train stations – all in a manner that made great classical music accessible. Internationally acclaimed soloists who have appeared with the orchestra include Tasmin Little, Jennifer Pike, Raphael Wallfisch, Peter Donohoe, Nicholas Daniel and Dame Emma Kirkby. Skipton Camerata now has a growing reputation across the North of England for delivering innovative and engaging performances.
In addition to bringing the great masterpieces of the orchestral repertoire to the more remote areas of Yorkshire, Camerata is passionate about introducing audiences to works and composers they may not otherwise discover. The orchestra regularly commissions and premieres new works.
Skipton Camerata’s outreach programme, particularly that with young people, lies at the heart of its work. Camerata regularly teams up with schools and charities to offer workshops for children and students, and has regularly run a ‘side-by-side’ scheme which sees professional musicians sit and play alongside amateurs and schoolchildren in rehearsals and performances.
At the invitation of Craven District Council, Camerata has since 2015 been the orchestra-in-residence at the newly refurbished Skipton Town Hall.