Huydts World Premiere Featured in 25th Season's Third Program
As a special tribute for its 25th anniversary, The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, performs a world premiere on the season's third program, "Old Meets New," featuring guest violist Stephen Boe. Performances take place March 4 at First Baptist Church of Geneva-Chapelstreet Church; March 7 at the PianoForte Studios in downtown Chicago, joined by a Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras quintet; and March 11 at the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston.
The programSebastian Huydts, director of keyboard and string studies at Columbia College Chicago, commented, "During the past 15 years, I have had the privilege to be asked numerous times to write for and collaborate with this magnificent ensemble. It seemed fitting to write a new work dedicated to the members of the Orion Ensemble in recognition of their 25 years of tirelessly promoting classical chamber music and presenting innovative programming with flair, élan and technical finesse."
His second Quintet for clarinet, strings and piano, Op. 52 follows his first clarinet quintet composed in 2002 for Orion's 10th anniversary. Inspired by the novel Out of Mind by J. Bernlef, the piece is influenced by the story of a Dutch-U.S. immigrant suffering from Alzheimer's. Trying to cope with the frightening reality that he is losing his grip on what was once familiar and tangible, he finds life becoming fragmentary impressions.
Although not a direct representation of the novel's events, the music expresses many episodes of the book. Huydts noted, "...the fate befalling the protagonist of the novel may actually be happening to present civilization. More and more we fail to make sense of what is happening; we are at a loss for words to analyze, and our collective attention span becomes shorter and shorter." Orion looks forward to experiencing--and sharing with listeners--the reflective, cathartic and redemptive aspects of Huydts' music.
Fauré's inspiration for his Quartet No. 1 in C minor for violin, viola, cello and piano, Op. 15 was the demise of a brief engagement to Marianne Viardot, daughter of the famous mezzo-soprano, Pauline Viardot. After proposing for five years, Fauré was engaged to Viardot, but she broke off the engagement within four months. Considering the emotional grieving Fauré was experiencing, this work is surprisingly light and lilting in most sections. While the emotional and professional support of his mentor, Saint-Säens, likely bolstered Fauré, the composer's sadness is evident in the third movement, a world unto itself of endless longing. The 70-year-old Bruch composed Eight Pieces for clarinet, viola and piano, Op. 83, wonderful miniatures of chamber music, for his son, Max Felix, a gifted clarinetist. These chamber gems conjure up feelings of serenity, the mystical, the rustic, joy and longing. Composed as brief character pieces, each work is in a minor key except the seventh. Orion will perform selections from this work.
Gideon Klein suffered in the Terezin and Auschwitz concentration camps and died only two weeks after completing the Trio for violin, viola and cello (1944). Refusing to abandon music after he was imprisoned in 1941, he convinced his Nazi captors to allow him to compose and perform. While in the Terezin camp, he gave more than 15 piano recitals. Before being deported to Auschwitz, he gave his entire collection of manuscripts to Irma Semtska, his girlfriend at Terezin. After he died in January 1945, the manuscripts were finally given to Klein's sister at the end of the war.
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras Quintet Joining Orion for its March 7 performance at the PianoForte Studios in Chicago is The Venus Quintet, a chamber group of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. Quintet members include Hope Rogers, flute, a senior at Walter Payton College Prep from Chicago; Nathaniel Sanchez, oboe, a junior at Metamora Township High School from Metamora; Kevin Meaux, clarinet, a senior at Lincoln-Way East High School from Mokena; Emmy Hensley, bassoon, a senior at Plainfield North High School from Plainfield; and Ryan Williamson, horn, a senior at New Trier from Wilmette. Orion's 25th anniversary season
Orion's 2017-18 season, which includes violist Stephen Boe on all programs, concludes with "Quintessential Quintets," with additional guest artist violinist Mathias Tacke performing on a program including Weber, Gershwin and Dvo?ák, in May. Also during the season, Orion appears on the broadcast series "Live from WFMT" March 5, 2018.
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 John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund, 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 "Old Meets New" takes place Sunday, March 4 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Geneva-Chapelstreet Church, 2300 South Street in Geneva; Wednesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m., with the CYSO woodwind quintet, at the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago; and Sunday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. 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.