Viva la Musica: Orpheus in South America
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra returned to Cartagena, Colombia to perform as resident orchestra during the 10th anniversary of the Cartagena International Music Festival. The 8-day festival featured more than 40 concerts, masterclasses, exhibits, instrument building demonstrations, cultural highlights, and more. Orpheus has a celebrated 25-year history of touring South America which has included the Cartagena Festival.
Orpheus’s three-day visit included a free outdoor concert in the Plaza San Pedro celebrating the festival’s 10th anniversary. Orpheus also played sold-out performances of wide ranging repertoire from Vivaldi to Carlos Chávez with soloists such as violinists Anne Akiko Meyers and Maxim Vengerov, cellist Santiago Cañón, harpist Emmanuel Ceysson, soprano Carla Cottini and bandoneon player Rodolfo Mederos.
Additional important highlights included masterclasses led by Orpheus musicians for students from across Colombia who took part in the festival through a fully-funded scholarship program. Orpheus cellist, Melissa Meell met with musicians from the Bogota Youth Symphony who saw Orpheus at the festival two years ago, and were inspired to create their own conductorless orchestra based on the Orpheus model.
The orchestra gives special thanks to the Ardila family for their unwavering support of Orpheus and the festival, and for their help in growing and strengthening Orpheus’s relationship with the community of Cartagena.
Orpheus and Khatia Buntiashvili Turn Up the Heat in Florida
Orpheus enjoyed a welcome reprieve from Winter Storm Jonas and the New York City snow when the orchestra collaborated with Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili and took their upcoming Carnegie Hall program to the Van Wezel Center in Sarasota, Florida on January 26.
“Throughout the concert, as a whole and individually, these musicians delivered the most astounding accuracy, meshing together with flawless accuracy… Tempo variations, transitions, quick shifts in mood and manner, were all negotiated with confident artistry. Still, a wonder to behold.” Khatia Buniatishvili’s “elegance on stage and on the keyboard was remarkable.”
Featured on the program was the world premiere of an Orpheus-commissioned orchestral arrangement of Rachmaninoff’s Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos, Op. 17 by Japanese-American composer Paul Chihara. “Sounding as color rich as a full orchestra, yet nimble enough to plausibly recreate a piano duo, this is a brilliant addition to their repertoire, and any other chamber orchestra,” wrote the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
Hear Ms. Buniatishvili and Orpheus tonight at the Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette College in Easton, PA, at Carnegie Hall tomorrow, Saturday, January 30 at 7 pm, and at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College on Sunday, January 31 at 3 pm.
Up Next: Zukerman and a World Premiere
The great violinist Pinchas Zukerman makes his long-awaited Orpheus Chamber Orchestra debut with four concerts across North America including a performance at Carnegie Hall on March 19 and concerts in Kansas City, Toronto and East Lansing. Mr. Zukerman will perform two works with the orchestra —Mozart’s Third Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s Romance for Violin and Orchestra No. 1.
The concert also includes an Orpheus commissioned new work titled Vision Machine by Brooklyn-born composer and Pulitzer Prize finalist Harold Meltzer. This work is part of Orpheus’s American Notes commissioning program that engages composers of diverse musical styles and backgrounds to create music that explores the question of American identity. To date, the orchestra has commissioned and premiered more than 40 pieces of new music.
During this program, Orpheus will perform for the first time, Symphony in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6 by Johann Christian Bach. Johann Sebastian’s youngest son Johann was one of the most influential composers to the development of Mozart’s compositional style. Also on the program is Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin.
Orpheus and Pinchas Zukerman on tour:
Friday, March 18 at 8 pm: Kauffman Center in Kansas City, MO