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American Notes – Engaging new communities

Orpheus reaches close to 10,000 audience members and 2,500 students with the world premieres commissioned from Anna Clyne and Timo Andres.

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World Premiere of final American Notes new work

Posted on March 25, 2015 by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

As part of Orpheus’ American Notes commissioning initatiive, Turkish composer Fazil Say has written a new orchestral work for Orpheus Chamber Orchestra inspired by the complexities of modern day Turkish identity and his own relationship with America. The new work, Chamber Symphony Op. 62, will have its world premiere at Easton, Pennsylvania, on April 8th and at Carnegie Hall on April 11th.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.orpheusnyc.org.

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Timo Andres Premiere: Word of Mouth

Posted on February 23, 2015 by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

On February 7, 2015, Orpheus was proud to premiere the American Notes commission by Timo Andres at Carnegie Hall. As a Composers Club member, thank you for making this possible. The New York Times said:

“’Word of Mouth’ by Timo Andres is an exhilarating chamber symphony suffused with optimism but also seemingly filled with the clamor of conflicting ambitions and egos. In fact two of the work’s five movements are fanfares, with the first made up of overlapping rising motifs that create a bright, eager, clamor. In the fourth movement these elements return in a more domesticated form, colored by some beautifully refined writing for winds.

The music has a uniquely American neo-Classical flavor harking back to the fresh simplicity of shape note singing and Shaker furniture. The orchestra played with the kind of conviction and sensitivity usually accorded to standards.”

Click here to read the rest of the New York Times review of the Orpheus performance.

Timo, along with Orpheus commissioned composers Andrew Norman (Apart, Together – 2011 premiere) and Gabriel Kahane (Gabriel’s Guide… – 2013 premiere), were also quoted in a feature article on contemporary composer Thomas Adés. Read it here.

Orpheus’ American Notes commissions continue with a new work by Turkish composer Fazil Say, which premieres at Carnegie Hall on Saturday, April 11, 2015. Get tickets here.


During the past 2013-2014 Season, Orpheus launched a new, two-year commissioning initiative titled American Notes that engaged three composers with diverse musical styles and backgrounds to create new works. With the support of generous funders – including New Music USA – Orpheus was able to engage gifted composers Anna Clyne, Timo Andres, and Fazil Say. The project’s culmination will now take place in the 2014-2015 Season with world premieres at Carnegie Hall and on national tours, accompanied by educational activities offering access into the creative process. In all, close to 10,000 audience members and 2,500 students will be engaged with Orpheus and live, new American music.

American Notes began with the complex question of what defines American identity today – the characteristics, experiences, communities, and relationships. Each composer has developed a musical exploration of this question, contributing to the ongoing global conversation of national identity. This proposal requests support towards Orpheus’ collaborations with Ms. Clyne and Mr. Andres, as Mr. Say, a Turkish composer, is not eligible for New Music USA funding.

Orpheus is proud to present these new works as part of its subscription series programming, performed alongside other well-known and rarely-heard works from the orchestral canon. In this way, audiences who might not otherwise choose a new music performance will also be engaged, and connections within the broader context of orchestral music can be highlighted. Ms. Clyne’s new work, Rest These Hands, will be shared with audiences in California and New York through four performances in 2014: San Luis Obispo, CA on November 1st, Stanford University, CA on November 2nd, Purchase College, NY on November 30th, and in New York City’s Carnegie Hall on December 6th. In 2015, Mr. Andres’ new work will be performed at Lafayette College, PA on February 6th and at Carnegie Hall on February 7th. In addition, Orpheus will include Mr. Andres’ piece for its Budapest Festival debut in Hungary on April 24, 2015, broadening the work’s reach.

In conjuction with performances, American Notes will be integrated into Orpheus’ two award-winning education programs. Through Access Orpheus, over 2,000 New York City public school students, the majority from Title 1 schools, uncover the full compositional process from creation to rehearsal to performance. Students will have the opportunity to discuss the composition with Orpheus Artistic Directors through in-class visits, witness the refinement and meet the composers at working rehearsals, and experience the final performance through free tickets to the Carnegie Hall premieres.

With Orpheus Institute, music and leadership students from Stanford University, Lafayette College, and SUNY-Purchase will engage in in-depth discussions and coaching sessions with Orpheus musicians, prior to the performances. When possible, the composers will share their own experiences of creating music within the democratic, conductorless Orpheus system. During the Europe Tour, students from the acclaimed Franz Liszt Academy will also participate in an Orpheus Institute session prior to the orchestra’s Budapest Festival debut.

With these seven performance and activities, Orpheus aims to broaden the reach of American Notes, sharing new American music and the democratic Orpheus process to communities in America and abroad.

Project Media

Night Ferry
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Features: Anna Clyne

This excerpt showcases Anna Clyne’s incredible ear for orchestral color and dramatic expression. Orpheus is eager to work with Ms. Clyne to create a similarly layered, subtle new piece that impacts listeners viscerally. ‘Night Ferry’ was commissioned by Chicago Symphony Orchestra while Ms. Clyne served as the Composer-in-Residence; the work premiered in 2012 with Riccardo Muti conducting. This great performance of Ms. Clyne’s work is by one of the leading orchestras and conductors of our times, and emphasizes Ms. Clyne’s unique artistic voice.

Piano Quintet, Movement 5 “Pyramid Scheme”
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Features: Timo Andres

This excerpt displays Mr. Andres’ tremendous harmonic gifts that bring the listener into quiet intimacy with the performers. Performed by the Elias String Quartet with Jonathan Biss on piano, the sample is taken from the culminating movement of Mr. Andres’ ambitious piano quintet. Orpheus looks forward to performing a similarly intricate work for chamber orchestra from Mr. Andres.

Earth Songs
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Performed by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, this sample was taken from the Carnegie Hall concert of Ms. Thomas’ new work on October 11, 2012. ‘Earth Songs’ was commissioned by Orpheus the opening of the orchestra’s 40th Anniversary Season. It is an example of Orpheus’ ongoing commitment to work with living composers, expanding the chamber orchestra library and allowing contemporary voices to build on the canon of the past.

Start and End Dates



New York City, New York

2 updates
Last update on March 25, 2015

Project Created By

New York, New York
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra believes in empowering the unique voice of all people to make a valuable contribution. Working together as a collective of leaders, members explore each other’s musical ideas using their signature collaborative method, the Orpheus Process®, and give flight to vibrant, unconventional interpretations. Orpheus performances unfold dynamically, moment-by-moment, creating an energy shared by…

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Brooklyn, New York


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