The Orion Ensemble received first prize in the Festivals category of the 2000 Chamber Music America/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming for its critically acclaimed millennium celebration called An Inside Look at Contemporary Music.
The Ensemble has received numerous rave reviews throughout the years, including several from the Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein (“Pride of place must go to the Orion, resident ensemble of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University”) and the Sun-Times’ Wynne Delacoma (“Orion is one of those outstanding chamber ensembles, plentiful in Chicago despite fearsome financial hurdles, that bring so much vitality to the city’s musical scene”). Orion is frequently given advance billing in von Rhein’s “Classical music picks of the week” and as “Critic’s Choice” in the Chicago Reader and is often featured in various online reviews of its concert series.
Composers find the versatility and accomplishments of the individual musicians provide a wonderful platform upon which to write their works. Composer and radio host Peter Schickele, also known also by his alter-ego “PDQ Bach,” has said that “Orion is ...what chamber music should be all about: Individual virtuosity melded into a group personality—their performances are clean, vibrant, and committed.”
Twilight of the Romantics, Orion’s most recent recording on the Cedille label, has received high commendations from online critics around the world, including (from Aaron Green of About.com), “Orion Ensemble plays with remarkable clarity and musicality…The Orion Ensemble is considered one of Chicago’s finest chamber ensembles. After listening to the album it’s not hard to hear why.”