Violist Jennifer Marlas Departs The Orion Ensemble

Violist Jennifer Marlas Departs The Orion Ensemble

The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, announces that violist Jennifer Marlas, who has been on sabbatical due to health issues, will not be returning to the Ensemble.

"I speak for the entire Ensemble in expressing our gratitude to have had the opportunity to play with Jennifer as a revered core artist for many years," said Orion's clarinetist and executive director Kathryne Pirtle. "We regret that, due to a long-term chronic illness, she will be unable to return. We have been fortunate to have violinist/violist Stephen Boe fill in for Jennifer the past several years, and he will continue to serve as principal guest violist this season and in the future."

"I treasure my years collaborating with such wonderful musicians," said Marlas. "I also value the strong friendships we have formed; they will last a lifetime."

A Chicago native, Marlas studied with Almita and Roland Vamos and won honors in many competitions. She was a four-year scholarship student of Josef Gingold at Indiana University, where she was unanimously awarded a Performer's Certificate and received the Josef Gingold Scholarship. She earned a master's degree and was awarded the Josef Kasper Prize at the Peabody Conservatory. As a member of the Pacifica String Quartet, she won Grand Prize at the Fischoff and 50th Anniversary Coleman competitions and the Nathan Wedeen Management Prize at the Concert Artists Guild Competition. She has performed live-broadcast recitals in Chicago and Los Angeles on the Dame Myra Hess series and has been presented numerous times in recital by the Fine Arts Society and Chicago Chamber Music Society. She has served on the faculties of the Yellow Barn and Mimir Chamber Music festivals.

Orion's 2014-15 season A Taste of Chicago, A World of Romance features a Chicago composer on each program: "Stepping Out" in September and October, with guests Stephen Boe, Sebastian Huydts and Robert Kassinger and works by Chicagoan Jim Gailloreto, Coltrane, Gould, Dvorak and Schubert; "Rhapsody" in November and December, with guest Stephen Boe and works by Chicagoan Sebastian Huydts, Profokiev, Rachmaninov, Müller and Enescu; "Jubilation" in March 2015, with music by Chicagoan Stacy Garrop, Hartmann and Beethoven; and "Celebration" in May 2014, with 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 patrons. For a brief history, click here.

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