The Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1985 in Veszprém, the historic Hungarian city with rich musical heritage. The orchestra has been led since then by its artistic leader and violin soloist Péter Kováts. Their repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary music, and even to jazz. They made the premiere and/or the Hungarian premiere of a significant number of contemporary compositions as well.
The Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra has been working with the finest soloists from Hungary and abroad as Mischa Maisky, Gidon Kremer, Vadim Repin, Maxim Vengerov, Miklós Perényi, Kristóf Baráti, Barnabás Kelemen. They have also played with world-famous Hungarian pianists and conductors: Tamás Vásáry, Zoltán Kocsis, Jenő Jandó and Péter Frankl, the vocalists Andrea Rost, Ilona Tokody, among others.
They had many tours in almost every country of Europe and also in America (USA, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Argentina, Uruguay). They have played in major concert halls of the world including Verdi Hall (Milan), Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), St. John’s (London), St. Martin-in-the-Fields (London), L’Auditori (Barcelona), Franz Liszt Academy of Music (Budapest), Palace of Arts – (Budapest), etc.
The MCO members often invite excellent jazz musicians and also, they are often invited to play their compositions arranged for chamber orchestra together. They have played with Bobby McFerrin, Jacques Loussier and the Play Bach trio, Roby Lakatos, Mark O’Connor, Fred Hersch, Joe Muranyi, Ferenc Snétberger, Aladár Pege, among others.
The International ”Auer” Music Festival – has been held in the respect of the world-famous, Veszprém-born violinist and pedagogue Leopold Auer (1845–1930) – was launched in 2014 by the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra, featuring world-famous soloists, chamber groups, orchestras on festival stages of Veszprém.
Both the MCO and Péter Kováts were honoured with one of the most prestigious art prize of Hungary, the Bartók–Pásztory Prize, in 2010.