January 6, 2015

The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, continues its 22nd season A Taste of Chicago, A World of Romance with “Jubilation,” featuring Chicago composer Stacy Garrop’s work of the same name. Performances take place at the First Baptist Church of Geneva March 8; the Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston March 15; and the PianoForte Studios in Chicago March 18.

The program
Stacy Garrop’s music is centered on direct and dramatic narrative, in programmatic pieces without text and more directly in pieces that draw upon poets and writers for source material. Within the realm of chamber music, she is particularly fond of writing for string quartets; Avalon, Biava, Cecilia, Chiara, Enso and Artaria Quartets have performed her work. She has a longstanding relationship with the Lincoln Trio, and her chamber works have also been performed by the Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Fifth House Ensemble, Gaudete Brass Quintet, Indiana University’s New Music Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), New EAR, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Seattle New Music Ensemble, Society for New Music, Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players and Voices of Change. She also has written orchestral and choral works and has received numerous awards and grants.

Orion violinist Florentina Ramniceanu, cellist Judy Stone and pianist Diana Schmück will interpret Garrop’s “Jubilation” for Violin, Cello and Piano, which was commissioned by Chicago classical music station WFMT, which also produces and distributes programs to more than 650 U.S. and international outlets, for its 60th birthday. Garrop commented, “The piece contains three main themes: a serene, beautiful melody that opens the piece and recurs in various guises throughout; a very fast, energetic theme that uses a 9/8 – 8/8 – 7/8 meter, which corresponds to the station’s frequency, 98.7 FM; and a sultry tango requested by Desirée Ruhstrat, the violinist of the Lincoln Trio, which premiered the piece. Altogether, these themes take the audience on a joyful, high-energy romp that pays tribute to WFMT’s spirited past, present and future.”

Orion clarinetist Kathryn Pirtle joins Stone and Schmück for Danish composer Emil Hartmann’s joyful Serenade for Clarinet, Cello and Piano. Son of J.P.E. Hartmann, one of Denmark’s leading mid-19th century composers, he composed in virtually every genre, enjoying considerable success in Germany but curiously never was truly recognized in his native country. The Serenade, composed in 1878, opens with the lyrical Idylle, which alternates between a dreamy, Mendelssohnian mood and a lighter and brighter faster section. The gorgeous Romance that follows offers well-proportioned, lush 19th century melodic writing. The finale, Rondo, is alternatingly dramatic and playful, but always full of beautiful melodic interplay between the instruments.

Ramniceanu, Stone and Schmück conclude the program with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 97, commonly referred to as the Archduke Trio, as it was dedicated to the Archduke Rudolph of Austria, who happened to be Beethoven’s only composition student. The trio was the last work the composer wrote for this combination of instruments and is a crowning achievement in its genre. Although its piano part is devilishly demanding, the overall atmosphere of its four movements is one of great nobility and maturity, full of supreme invention and containing perhaps the most touching of slow movements the composer ever wrote. Its finale offers pure joy, transparent vitality with perky rhythms, delightful virtuoso interplay of the instruments, beautiful harmonic moves and a dazzling presto crowning the entire experience.

Orion’s 2014–15 season
Orion’s 2014–15 season, A Taste of Chicago, A World of Romance features a Chicago composer on each of its four programs; the final program, “Celebration” in May 2015, features guest Stephen Boe and works by Chicagoan Marc Mellits, Kókai and Brahms. Also during the season, Orion appears on the broadcast series “Live from WFMT” March 23 and June 1, 2015.

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 four superb musicians—Kathryne Pirtle (clarinet), Florentina Ramniceanu (violin), 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 Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council and generous donations from its patrons. For a brief history, click here.

Performance and ticket information
The Orion Ensemble’s concert program “Jubilation” takes place Sunday, March 8 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Geneva, 2300 South Street in Geneva; Sunday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston; and Wednesday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall at PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago. 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.


The Orion Ensemble is supported in part by grants from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation,
the John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund,
and generous donations from our dedicated patrons.
©2010-2016 Orion Ensemble. All rights reserved. Please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.