Orion Expands “Janet’s Stage” Program to Glenbard East High School

November 16, 2015

After two successful years, The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, is expanding its commitment to making chamber music more accessible through “Janet’s Stage,” adding Glenbard East High School in Lombard to its existing partnership with Geneva High School.

Orion’s first session of the year, a master class/performance for three classes at Glenbard East, took place September 23, and the second session occurred at Geneva High School on October 16. Orion musicians will return to each school at least five more times throughout the current school year.

Janet’s Stage is a one-of-a-kind collaboration with the orchestra departments at each partner school, with the Orion musicians—clarinetist and executive director Kathy Pirtle, violinist Florentina Ramniceanu, pianist Diana Schmück and cellist Judy Stone—providing multifaceted, year-long student support. The program offers practical, individualized learning through master classes and chamber music coaching, performances for students and parents at each school, invitations to attend Orion concerts and the opportunity for student ensembles to perform on the Orion concert stage.

Following an in-school performance at Geneva High School, several musicians collectively wrote, “Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to come perform for us. We look forward to having you again and being able to work with you in our ensembles. Listening to you play was inspiring and a wonderful experience. Every year your teachings help us to become better musicians.”

Said Geneva’s orchestra director Julie Lawrence, “I have been so pleased to see the many ways my students have grown through this partnership. The new insights into how to rehearse as a chamber ensemble, deeper understanding of the nature of the music being performed and specific technical instruction they have received from working side by side with Orion has been a great advantage for my students. We are grateful to have professional musicians of such a high caliber in our midst through this program.”

Orion created Janet’s Stage to celebrate the life, special leadership and service of longtime former Board Chair Janet Safanda, who passed away in 2012. “This multi-year high-impact program pays tribute to the ways Janet’s special signature has been written on the Ensemble’s development and vision,” said Pirtle. “We are grateful for the significant funding from the community at large to continue and expand this initiative.”

Orion’s 2015–16 season

Orion’s 23rd season, Fantasies and Enchantments, welcomes several respected guest artists and includes a range of compositions from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries; Orion performs every program at three venues including Geneva, downtown Chicago and Evanston. The season began in late September with “French and German Tapestries,” welcoming guest violist Stephen Boe and featuring a world premiere by Jackson Berkey along with works by Mozart and Faure, and continues with “Harp Fantasy” in November and December, featuring the Orion debut of harpist Ben Melsky performing on a program of Ibert, Saint-Saëns, Vaughn Williams, Ireland and Bridge; “American Landscape” in March, presenting work by Berkey, Sowash and Dvorák; and “Musical Enchantments” in May and June, welcoming guests Mathias Tacke on violin and Stephen Boe on viola for a program of Dvorák, Beach and Brahms. For information, visit the Home page.



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.
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