French Musical Treasure On Orion's March Program

French Musical Treasure On Orion's March Program

The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, continues its 26th season with "French Musical Treasure," featuring compositions by three noteworthy women, a Beethoven Piano Quartet and guest violist Stephen Boe. Performances take place March 3 at the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston; March 10 at Chapelstreet Church in Geneva; and March 20 at the PianoForte Studios in downtown Chicago.

The program Beethoven composed his Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 16 in 1785, when he was only 15 years old. It was one of three piano quartets he wrote that year in what was then a new and rarefied musical form. The piano had still not emerged as the dominant concert keyboard, and Mozart had just written his passionate Piano Concerto in D minor to expand the new instrument's capabilities. This early chamber work exemplifies the passionate, highly lyrical and original ideas of the young composer. Nancy Van de Vate (b. 1930) is an American composer with more than 200 works recorded and published around the world. She founded the International League of Women Composers in 1975. Her Trio for clarinet, viola and piano is mysterious, impassioned and filled with emotion. The seemingly endless harmonies overlap each instrument, only to give way to impetuous rhythms.

For Cecile Chaminade (1857-1944), the world was largely unaccepting of composers who were women. Her considerable talents as a composer and a pianist highly impressed Georges Bizet, and a review in 1903 said of her, "This is not a woman who composes, but a composer who is a woman." Her Piano Trio in A minor captures the passionate contrasts of late 19th century romanticism.

Stacy Garrop (b. 1969) wrote Little Bits for clarinet, violin, cello and piano in the summer of 2000 at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. As she recalled, "Each composer who came to the Center wrote a piece while in residence. Given the brevity of time in which to write, I chose to compose super-short movements, each focusing on a specific set of parameters, colors and textures. For instance, the first movement deals with a 12-tone row while the second is a short tribute to American composer George Crumb. The piece concludes with a slightly longer movement that is both a whirlwind and a smorgasbord of three different bits." Orion's 26th season Orion's 2018-19 season, which includes violist Stephen Boe on all programs, concludes with "A Brahms Finale," featuring works by Uhl, Prokofiev and Brahms in May.Orion appears on the broadcast series "Live from WFMT" May 20, 2019.

Performance and ticket information The Orion Ensemble's concert program "French Musical Treasure" takes place Sunday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston; Sunday, March 10 at 7 p.m. at Chapelstreet Church, 2300 South Street in Geneva; and Wednesday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the 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.

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