Orpheus Chamber Orchestra creates extraordinary musical experiences that enrich lives and empower individuals through collaboration, innovation, education and a passion for artistic excellence. Orpheus strives to be the world’s premier chamber orchestra by performing music at the highest level without a conductor, challenging artistic boundaries, inspiring the public to think and work with new perspectives, and building a broad and active audience in New York City and around the world.
Committed to innovation and artistic excellence, Orpheus was founded in 1972 by a group of like-minded young musicians determined to combine the intimacy and warmth of a chamber ensemble with the richness of an orchestra. Orpheus performs without a conductor, rotating musical leadership roles for each work, and striving to perform diverse repertoire through collaboration and open dialogue. The ensemble has commissioned and premiered more than 48 original works. Orpheus’s recordings include the Grammy Award-winning Shadow Dances: Stravinsky Miniatures for Deutsche Grammophon, and over 70 other recordings for DG, Sony Classical, EMI Classics, BMG/RCA Red Seal, Decca, and others, including its own label, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Records.
Orpheus presents an annual concert series in New York City featuring performances at Carnegie Hall and the 92nd Street Y, as well as an intimate Twilight chamber series in the elegant instrument showroom at Tarisio Fine Instruments and Bows in midtown Manhattan. The orchestra also tours extensively to major national and international venues. The 2018-19 season features five new-to-Orpheus artists and Now Hear This!, a new initiative dedicated to reimagining musical gems of the past with new arrangements by top-notch composers. Beloved Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii opens the Carnegie Hall series with Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto. In November, Orpheus welcomes vibrant mandolin & accordion duo Avi Avital and Ksenija Sidorova, who will treat audiences to a reinvention of their time-honored instruments in a novel rearrangement of Bach. Spanish pianist Javier Perianes joins Orpheus for Mozart’s last Piano Concerto No. 27. Orpheus’ American Notes initiative welcomes Golden Globe, Grammy and Emmy-nominated composer Benjamin Wallfisch and New York favorite James Matheson for two new works commissioned by Orpheus. British cellist Steven Isserlis opens the new 92Y series to explore the thrilling emotions of C.P.E. Bach‘s Concerto in A Major. The season ends with a flourish: Richard Strauss’ rendering of a fabled trickster, played in a lively arrangement for chamber ensemble. Iranian harpsichord virtuoso Mahan Esfahani juggles tradition and disruption in a chamber symphony reworking of Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds (K. 452) by Jean Françaix.
About Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Educational Initiatives
Orpheus has trademarked its signature mode of operation, the Orpheus Process®, an original method that places democracy at the center of artistic execution. It has been the focus of studies at Harvard University and of leadership seminars at IBM, Morgan Stanley, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, among others. Orpheus aims to bring this unique approach to students of all ages through its worldwide education and engagement programs: Access Orpheus-NYC, Orpheus Music Academy, Orpheus Leadership Institute, and With Music in Mind.
Access Orpheus-NYC shares the orchestra’s collaborative music-making process with K-12 public school students from all five boroughs in New York City. While New York is among the cultural capitals of the world, many schoolchildren are underserved in arts participation. Access Orpheus-NYC helps to bridge this gap with in-class visits, invitations to working rehearsals, Instrument Discovery Days, public masterclasses, and free tickets for performances at Carnegie Hall.
The Orpheus Music Academy encompasses Orpheus’ programs for intermediate and advanced music students. Orpheus musicians share their artistry, expertise, and collaborative approach to music-making through masterclasses with Orpheus musicians and guest artists, side-by-side workshops, and residencies on tour.
The Orpheus Leadership Institute brings the Orpheus Process® to the private and nonprofit sectors and educational institutions to empower the leaders of tomorrow through collaborative management training. Teams of all kinds participate in customizable programs to gain insight from Orpheus’ democratic process and develop essential skills in communication, collective ownership, and creative problem solving.
Through a partnership between Orpheus and CaringKind, New York City’s leading expert in dementia care, With Music in Mind brings the transformative power of music to people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and their caregivers. CaringKind provides in-depth Understanding Dementia for Professionals of Cultural Institutions training designed specifically for Orpheus staff and musicians, who then lead an intimate performance and conversation with audiences impacted by these challenging diseases.