Orion Ensemble concludes its ‘Musical Travels’

The Orion Ensemble’s final performances of its season of “Musical Travels” will be part of the celebration of National Chamber Music Month, a nationwide initiative to draw attention to small ensemble performance.
Orion’s performances are among hundreds taking place across the country this May as part of this second annual series. Last year, participants in all 50 states took part in events showcasing ensemble music of all styles, including classical, jazz, world and early music, as well as contemporary and experimental works informed by emerging technologies and innovative performance techniques.
Chamber Music America, the national network of ensemble music professionals and the organization behind National Chamber Music Month, has encouraged ensembles and presenters, both well-known and emerging, to use this month to increase public awareness of chamber music performance and to attract new audiences within their own communities.
For this final concert program of its 2013–14 season, Orion showcases music from three countries: Germany, with the third in its season-long series of Beethoven String Trios with Stephen Boe on viola, this one in C Minor for Violin, Viola and Cello, Op. 9, No. 3, as well as Amon’s Clarinet Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 106, No. 2; the United States, with Gershwin’s Three Preludes; and Czechoslovakia, with Dvorak’s Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 87.
Chamber Music America defines chamber music as works for small ensembles of two to 10 members, playing one to a part and generally performing without a conductor.
“Chamber music is a vibrant and diverse field,” said Margaret M. Lioi, CEO of Chamber Music America. “It includes contemporary music, jazz, world music, Western classical and styles that draw from all of these. National Chamber Music Month will showcase the richness of chamber music through performances in urban and rural areas across the country, and we are thrilled that so many presenters and ensembles are participating.”
The Orion Ensemble
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 five superb musicians—Kathryne Pirtle (clarinet), Florentina Ramniceanu (violin), Jennifer Marlas (viola—on sabbatical), 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, and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. For a brief history, click here.
Performance and ticket information
The Orion Ensemble’s concluding concert program of its “Musical Travels” season takes place Sunday, May 25 at 7 p.m. at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Avenue in St. Charles; Wednesday, May 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago; and Sunday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Single tickets are $26, $23 for seniors and $10 for students; admission is free for children 12 and younger. 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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