Cellist Maksin Joins Orion In November for RUSSIAN PASSION

Cellist Maksin Joins Orion In November for RUSSIAN PASSIONThe Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, continues its 26th season with "Russian Passion," welcoming guest cellist Ian Maksin and guest violist Stephen Boe. Performances take place November 11 at a new venue, First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn; November 14 at the PianoForte Studios in downtown Chicago; and November 18 at the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston.

The programRussian-born, Chicago-based cellist and composer Ian Maksin returns to Chicago as part of an extensive worldwide tour in 2018. His latest album Zaria features folk music from Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Belarus and Macedonia; Maksin's original compositions inspired by tango, flamenco, Balkan music, shamanic rhythms and slavic pagan chants; and his tributes to music of Jacques Brel, Bill Withers and Russian rock star Boris Grebenshchikov. On Orion's concert program, he performs original compositions inspired by Tango Nuevo (a modern interpretation of the tango), blues, jazz, flamenco, Middle Eastern and Eastern European folk music.

Maksin also joins Orion cellist Judy Stone and other Ensemble members on Arensky's String Quartet in A minor, Op. 35. Although he is almost completely unknown in the United States, Arensky (1861-1906) is considered in Russia to be among the most illustrious Russian composers. The unusual use of two cellos adds to the intense darkness of this work. Written only months following Tchaikovsky's death, this work features contrasts of mood and tonal colorations.

The Trio in A minor by Carl Frühling (1868-1937) features radiant moments from the clarinet and gentle musings from the piano. However, the mystical longings expressed in this trio are akin to Arensky. Born in Ukraine, Frühling was a gifted pianist whose works are known for their lyrical qualities.

Gaspar Cassadó (1897-1966) was a cellist and composer born in Barcelona. When Cassadó was nine, Pablo Casals heard him play in a recital and offered to instruct the young cellist. The Piano Trio in C Major, which Cassadó composed in 1926, features the rhythmic passions that are typical of Spanish composers, as well as many tonal contrasts, exotic and unexpected changes of tempo and dynamics and a great variety of emotional heights and depths.

Orion's 26th season Orion's 2018-19 season, which includes violist Stephen Boe on all programs, continues with "French Musical Treasure," with works by Beethoven, Garrop, Van de Vate and Chaminade in March, and "A Brahms Finale," featuring works by Uhl, Prokofiev and Brahms in May. Orion hosts a fall benefit October 13 at Q Center in St. Charles, Illinois and appears on the broadcast series "Live from WFMT" October 1, 2018 and May 20, 2019.

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 "Russian Passion" takes place Sunday, November 11 at 7 p.m. at a new venue, First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, 535 Forest Avenue in Glen Ellyn; November 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago; and November 18 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

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