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Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

New York, NY            

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra creates extraordinary musical experiences that enrich lives and empower individuals through collaboration, innovation, and a passion for artistic excellence. Orpheus strives to be the world’s premier chamber orchestra by performing music at the highest level, challenging artistic boundaries, inspiring the public to think and work with new perspectives, and building a broad and active audience in New York City and around the world.

A standard-bearer of innovation and artistic excellence, Orpheus was founded in 1972 by a group of like-minded young musicians determined to combine the intimacy and warmth of a chamber ensemble with the richness of an orchestra. Orpheus performs without a conductor, rotating musical leadership roles for each work, and performs diverse repertoire through open dialogue. The orchestra’s collaborative philosophy guides all facets of the organization, from programming to governance.

Orpheus’s recordings include the Grammy Award-winning Shadow Dances: Stravinsky Miniatures for Deutsche Grammophon, and over 70 other recordings for DG, Sony Classical, EMI Classics, BMG/RCA Red Seal, Decca, and others, including its own label, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Records. Orpheus presents an annual series at Carnegie Hall and free outdoor performance in Central Park as part of the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts. A proud ambassador for American culture and artistry, Orpheus maintains a domestic and global presence through annual touring, and has visited more than 300 cities in 50 countries.

Committed to providing global exposure for new American music, the ensemble has commissioned and premiered 48 original works to date. As part of Orpheus’ ongoing American Notes commissioning initiative, two new pieces by composers living and working in the United States—Indian-American jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer, and award-winning Chinese composer Shuying Li—are featured in the 2017-18 season. Recent multi-year initiatives include the New Brandenburgs project, which produced six works inspired by Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and Project 440, which engaged four young composers to write new works in honor of Orpheus’ 40th season. Orpheus hosted its first composer-in-residence, Gabriel Kahane, from 2011 to 2013.

Beginning with the 2017-18 season, the orchestra is expanding its presence in and service to its hometown through performances in alternative NYC venues and new outreach programs. The orchestra performed for the 92Y’s season Opening Night on October 5, 2017 in collaboration with cellist Mischa Maisky. Orpheus has jointly launched a new chamber music series, Twilight at Tarisio, with auction house Tarisio Fine Instruments and Bows. Also, in partnership with CaringKind’s connect2culture® program, Orpheus is developing a Music and Wellness initiative for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients.

Orpheus has trademarked its signature mode of operation, the Orpheus Process®. This method places democracy at the center of artistic execution and has been studied at Harvard University. Orpheus aims to share this approach through its education and engagement programs. Access Orpheus-NYC shares the orchestra’s collaborative music-making process with K-12 public school students from all five boroughs in New York City, with priority given to Title I schools. The program provides arts enrichment through in-class visits, attendance at working rehearsals, instrument discovery days, and free tickets for Carnegie Hall performances. The Orpheus Music Academy serves intermediate and advanced music students through masterclasses with Orpheus musicians and guest artists, workshops, and residencies. The Orpheus Leadership Institute trains tomorrow’s leaders in the private, nonprofit, and academic sectors in the Orpheus Process®.

Harold Meltzer – Excerpt from Vision Machine

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Melinda Wagner – Little Moonhead

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Clint Needham – When We Forget

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