A standard-bearer of innovation and artistic excellence, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is one of the world’s foremost chamber orchestras. Orpheus was founded in 1972 by Julian Fifer and a group of like-minded young musicians determined to combine the intimacy and warmth of a chamber ensemble to the richness of an orchestra. With 71 albums, including the Grammy Award-winning Shadow Dances: Stravinsky Miniatures, and 42 commissioned and premiered original works, Orpheus rotates musical leadership roles for each work, and strives to perform diverse repertoire through collaboration and open dialogue.
Performing without a conductor, Orpheus presents an annual series at Carnegie Hall and tours extensively to major national and international venues. The 2014-2015 Season will include debut appearances by pianist Fazil Say and violinists Jennifer Koh and Augustin Dumay, and also includes three newly commissioned works. The season will also continue an ongoing exploration of Beethoven in performance with pianist Jonathan Biss, while new looks at favorites from the Orpheus catalog of recordings, including Haydn’s Symphony No. 80, Grieg’s Holberg Suite, and Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, demonstrate how these musicians have evolved over decades of playing together.
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 and Stanford, and of leadership seminars at Morgan Stanley and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, among others. Two unique education and engagement programs, Access Orpheus and Orpheus Institute, aim to bring this approach to students of all ages.
Access Orpheus, Orpheus’ educational initiative, shares the orchestra’s collaborative music-making process with public school students from all five boroughs in New York City. Because of declining resources for arts education, many public schools do not have access to fulltime arts teachers to provide music instruction and exposure to art and culture. Access Orpheus helps to bridge this gap with in-class visits, attendance at working rehearsal, and free tickets for performances at Carnegie Hall.
Orpheus Institute brings the Orpheus Process and the orchestra’s musicians to select colleges, universities, and conservatories to work directly with musicians and leaders of tomorrow. Students in all fields of study learn from Orpheus’ creative process and in areas of collaboration, communication, creative problem solving, and shared leadership. In the coming seasons Orpheus will continue to share its leadership methods and performance practices as the ensemble provides its audiences with the highest level of musicianship and programming.