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Signature four-concert series features premieres of Orpheus-commissioned works
by Wolfgang Rihm and Harold Meltzer and new arrangements by Dmitry Sitkovetsky
and Paul Chihara of works by Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff

Cellist Jan Vogler, pianist Khatia Buniatishvili,
and violinists Pinchas Zukerman, Augustin Hadelich, and Mira Wang
make their Orpheus debuts as guest soloists at Carnegie Hall

Orpheus also embarks on tours to Germany, Colombia, and Japan

NEW YORK, NY (February 19, 2015)—Orpheus Chamber Orchestra today announced its 43rd season at Carnegie Hall, opening with a premiere by Wolfgang Rihm performed with soloists Jan Vogler and Mira Wang on October 15 and closing with Pinchas Zukerman on March 19. Additional concerts feature Augustin Hadelich on December 5 and Khatia Buniatishvili on January 30. All five guest soloists on the roster this season make rare New York appearances to perform concertos with Orpheus for the first time on the Carnegie stage, and each concert includes the New York premiere of an original work or arrangement commissioned by the orchestra. The 2015-16 season accentuates Orpheus’ mission to expand repertoire for chamber orchestra, initiate collaborations with rising and established soloists and composers, and present programs that both celebrate traditional favorites and bring attention to lesser-known or new works. Beyond the Carnegie concert series, Orpheus strengthens its relationships with international audiences with tours to three continents.

The full schedule of Orpheus’ 2015-16 season concerts at Carnegie Hall is listed below. Subscriptions to these concerts are available through Orpheus at www.orpheusnyc.org or (212) 896-1704 starting on Friday, February 20, and single tickets may be purchased at www.carnegiehall.org or (212) 247-7800 beginning in September.

Executive Director Krishna Thiagarajan says, “Through our Signature Series at Carnegie Hall this season, we are excited to give our audiences the opportunity to hear five incredible soloists, including one of the greatest violinists of our time, Pinchas Zukerman, in his highly anticipated Orpheus debut. With each concert, we hope to take our audiences on a journey exploring new and rarely heard works, particularly those of the Romantic era, alongside treasured music from our past, all interpreted through Orpheus’ distinctive collaborative voice.”

For its opening concert on Thursday, October 15, Orpheus presents a tribute to Germany’s extraordinary ongoing contributions towards orchestral music by performing Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 and a new double concerto by Grawemeyer Award-winning composer Wolfgang Rihm. The program also includes the overture to Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Mr. Rihm’s Concerto for Violin and Cello will be performed with husband-and-wife duo Jan Vogler and Mira Wang, who have each developed international soloist careers performing with major orchestras around the world and regularly play together in recitals, chamber music, and other double concertos including the world premiere of John Harbison’s in 2010 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Currently General Director of the Dresden Musikfestspiele and founding Artistic Director of the Moritzburg Chamber Music Festival, Mr. Vogler became the youngest Principal Cellist of the Staatskapelle Dresden in its history at the age of twenty and won his third Echo Klassik award in 2014. Ms. Wang, who has performed amongst Orpheus musicians before but makes her first appearance with the ensemble as soloist this season, was sponsored by Roman Totenberg during her studies at Boston University, and her award history includes first prizes at the Geneva International Competition and New Zealand International Festival of Arts Lexus Violin Competition.

The concert on Saturday, December 5 features Dmitry Sitkovetsky’s new arrangement for violin and orchestra of the Divertimento from Stravinsky’s ballet Le baiser de la fée (The Fairy’s Kiss), to be performed with German violinist Augustin Hadelich, who also plays Tchaikovsky’s Valse-Scherzo. Mr. Hadelich was the Gold Medal winner of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis in 2006 and a recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2009 and Lincoln Center Martin E. Segal Award in 2012. His first major orchestral recording of concertos by Sibelius and Thomas Adès with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, released in March 2014 on the Avie label, was named one of NPR’s Top 10 Classical CDs of the year. Mr. Sitkovetsky, a renowned violinist and conductor who presently serves as Music Director of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, also arranged The Goldberg Variations for string trio in 1985, inspired by the 1981 Glenn Gould recording and the 300th anniversary of Bach’s birth. The Carnegie program opens with Handel’s Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 5 and closes with Respighi’s Gli Uccelli (The Birds). Orpheus’ 1993 album of Respighi works including Gli Uccelli, released on Deutsche Grammophon, is one of the best-selling recordings of this suite.

Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili makes her New York orchestral debut performing Mozart’s dramatic Piano Concerto No. 20 in the third concert of the season on Saturday, January 30. The program also includes the first orchestral arrangement of Rachmaninoff’s Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos by Japanese-American composer Paul Chihara, a former student of Nadia Boulanger. This orchestration, Orpheus’ third commission from Mr. Chihara, is paired in the program with Variations on a theme by Tchaikovsky by Rachmaninoff’s former professor Anton Arensky. Orpheus performed Mr. Chihara’s An Afternoon on the Perfume River in 2004 and his orchestral suite arranged from Bernstein’s opera Trouble in Tahiti in 2012. A 2010 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award recipient, Ms. Buniatishvili performed the closing concert at the 2014 iTunes Festival in September with Plácido Domingo as the only two classical performers at the festival. Orpheus opens this concert with Haydn’s First Symphony.

In the final program of its season, on Saturday, March 19, Orpheus performs two works with violinist Pinchas Zukerman—Mozart’s Third Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s Romance for Violin and Orchestra No. 1. The concert includes a newly commissioned work titled Vision Machine by Brooklyn-born composer Harold Meltzer, who currently teaches at Amherst College as Visiting Associate Professor of Music and has previously taught at Vassar College and Yale University. Orpheus also performs Le Tombeau de Couperin by Ravel and its first performance of the Symphony in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6 by Johann Christian Bach, Johann Sebastian’s youngest son and one of the most influential composers to the development of Mozart’s compositional style.

Violist Dov Scheindlin, one of Orpheus’ three Artistic Directors, says, “We are thrilled for another year of innovative programming and extraordinary music-making. This season we have thoughtfully curated four programs that showcase both the best of Orpheus and something new, and we look forward to sharing it at Carnegie Hall.”

In addition to its Signature Series at Carnegie Hall, Orpheus embarks on three international tours this season, returning to perform in countries where it has developed the strongest bonds. The week after the season opens, Orpheus joins forces with Mr. Vogler and Ms. Wang again on October 24 in Dresden, where Mr. Vogler was born and his Musikfestspiele is based. The performance commemorates the 10th anniversary of the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche, which was bombed and largely destroyed during the Second World War. It also marks Orpheus’ second visit to Germany in 2015, following its tour this coming April to seven cities in Germany, Italy, and Austria with Turkish pianist-composer Fazıl Say and the orchestra’s debut at the Budapest Festival. The other two tours in 2015-16 are to Colombia as orchestra-in-residence of the Cartagena International Music Festival for the festival’s 10-year celebration in January 2016, following Orpheus’ 2014 residency, and to Japan in June 2016. Orpheus travels to Japan as well as Europe every two years and last toured in Japan with pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii in February 2014.

In New York, Orpheus continues to develop its Access Orpheus program for public schools, including ongoing relationships with the Isaac Newton Middle School in East Harlem, WHEELS in Washington Heights, Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, and the Turtle Bay Music School in Manhattan. Through this program, close to 2,000 New York City public school students are engaged through in-class musician visits, invitations to orchestra rehearsals, and free tickets to each Orpheus performance at Carnegie Hall. In summer 2016, Naumburg Orchestral Concerts presents Orpheus in its annual free outdoor concert series in Central Park as part of their collaboration beginning in 2012.

About Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

The 2015-16 season marks Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s 43rd year of making internationally acclaimed music, from classical to contemporary, while reinventing the way individuals and organizations across the world think about collaboration, outreach, and democratic leadership. Performing without a conductor, Orpheus integrates musicians into virtually every facet of the organization, including artistic and administrative decisions, by rotating musical leadership roles for each piece and running open-forum rehearsals. With over 70 albums, collaborations with leading contemporary soloists, and more than 40 commissioned works as part of its history, Orpheus strives to expand the repertoire for chamber orchestra and continues to develop its international reputation through innovative projects and tours to Europe, Asia, and South America.

The Orpheus Process™, an original method that places democracy at the center of artistic execution, has been the focus of studies at Harvard and Stanford, and of leadership seminars at Morgan Stanley and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, among others. The collaborative process is also shared with grade-school and university-level students through two Orpheus programs. Access Orpheus engages close to 2,000 New York City public school students from all five boroughs through in-class visits, invitations to orchestra rehearsals, free tickets to Carnegie Hall, and supplementary curricula material. Orpheus Institute teaches experiential training in collective leadership to the next generation of musicians, university students, musical entrepreneurs, and business leaders, through residencies at select universities and conservatories that have included Dartmouth College, the Interlochen Arts Academy, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Maryland; as artists-in-residence, Orpheus has visited these campuses to facilitate coaching sessions, rehearsals, and master classes as well as play concerts.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Orpheus a $400,000 grant in October 2014 for its new Next Generation Orpheus initiative. Founded on principles of inclusiveness and empowerment, Orpheus is committed to building stronger connections with broader and younger audiences, in part by reflecting the diversity of its global audience within its internal musician network. The grant will fund Orpheus’ efforts to promote diversity both on and off the stage, and will provide support for musician-led transitions from a founder-driven organization to the orchestra’s next generation.

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Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 2015-16 Signature Series at Carnegie Hall  

Thursday, October 15 at 8 p.m.
Jan Vogler, cello
Mira Wang, violin

MENDELSSOHN            Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Wolfgang RIHM              Concerto for Violin and Cello (New York premiere)
SCHUMANN                   Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61

Saturday, December 5 at 7 p.m.
Augustin Hadelich, violin

HANDEL                         Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 5
STRAVINSKY                 Divertimento from Le baiser de la fée for Violin and Orchestra
(New York premiere of arrangement by Dmitry Sitkovetsky)
TCHAIKOVSKY              Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34
RESPIGHI                      Gli Uccelli

Saturday, January 30 at 7 p.m.
Khatia Buniatishvili, piano

HAYDN                           Symphony No. 1 in D major
MOZART                        Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466
ARENSKY                       Variations on a theme by Tchaikovsky, Op. 35a
RACHMANINOFF           Suite No. 2 (New York premiere of arrangement by Paul Chihara)  

Saturday, March 19 at 7 p.m.
Pinchas Zukerman, violin

J.C. BACH                      Symphony in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6
MOZART                        Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216
BEETHOVEN                  Romance for Violin and Orchestra No. 1 in G major, Op. 40
Harold MELTZER           Vision Machine (New York premiere)
RAVEL                            Le Tombeau de Couperin

To purchase subscriptions for the Carnegie concerts, please contact Orpheus at orpheusnyc.org or (212) 896-1704 starting on Friday, February 20. Single tickets will be available for purchase from Carnegie Hall at carnegiehall.org or (212) 247-7800 beginning in September.  

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