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Orion Ensemble Announces 21st Season: "Musical Travels"

The Orion Ensemble
The Orion Ensemble

The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, devotes its 21st season to “Musical Travels,” featuring Beethoven’s String Trios, which are rarely performed as a cycle, and works by Brahms, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Gershwin and more.

Orion will perform each concert program at venues spanning the Chicagoland area, including the Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston.

The season opens with “Celebrating Brahms,” featuring the composer’s Trio in A Minor for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Op. 114 and his Trio in E-flat Major for Horn, Violin and Piano, Op. 40, along with Schoenfield’s Café Music for Violin, Cello and Piano (1986). Joining Orion is guest horn Gregory Flint, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and member of the award-winning Asbury Brass Quintet, Tower Brass of Chicago and Fulcrum Point Brass Quintet. The Evanston performance is September 22.

Orion’s second concert program, “Danube Destinations,” welcomes guest violist Stephen Boe, a member of The Chicago Ensemble who teaches at the Music Institute of Chicago. The program includes Beethoven’s Trio in G Major for Violin, Viola and Cello, Op. 9 No. 1; two works by Hindemith: Duett for Viola and Cello (1934) and Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano (1938); and Mozart’s Quartet in G Minor for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano, K. 478. The Evanston performance is October 27.

For “Sounds of Russia,” Orion performs with guest pianist Sebastian Huydts, an associate professor at the Music Center of Columbia College Chicago who regularly performs with CUBE Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, as well as guest violist Stephen Boe and a guest narrator from the Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts). The program includes Beethoven’s Trio in D Major for Violin, Viola and Cello, Op. 9 No. 2; Stravinsky’s Suite from L’Histoire du Soldat for Clarinet, Violin and Piano (1918); and Rachmaninoff’s Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos, Op. 17. The Evanston performance is March 16.

The season concludes with “Czech and American Romance,” with violist Stephen Boe joining Orion for Beethoven’s Trio in C Minor for Violin, Viola and Cello, Op. 9 No. 3; Amon’s Quartet in E-flat Major for Clarinet, Violin, Viola and Cello, Op. 106, No. 2; Gershwin’s Three Preludes, arranged for Clarinet and Piano; and Dvorak’s Quartet in E-flat Major for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano, Op. 87. The Evanston performance is June 1.

Founded in 1992, the Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming for its critically acclaimed millennium celebration “An Inside Look at Contemporary Music,” features a roster of four superb musicians—Kathryne Pirtle (clarinet), Florentina Ramniceanu (violin), Diana Schmück (piano) and Judy Stone (cello)—who have performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia, as an ensemble and individually in solo, orchestral and other chamber music roles. The Chicago Tribune called Orion “one of Chicago’s most vibrant, versatile and distinctive ensembles,” and the Chicago Sun-Times said Orion is “what chamber music should be all about: Individual virtuosity melded into a group personality.” The Orion Ensemble is supported in part by grants from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; the MacArthur Fund for the Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. For a brief history, click here.

Single tickets are $26, $23 for seniors and $10 for students; children 12 and younger are free. A four-ticket flexible subscription provides a 10 percent savings on full-priced tickets. For tickets or more information, call 630-628-9591 or visit orionensemble.org.    

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