Orpheus May 19 2020.png

Soloists Include Alessio Bax, Angela Hewitt, Branford Marsalis,
Pablo Sáinz-Villegas, Fazil Say, Karen Slack, and Christian Tetzlaff


NEW YORK, NY (May 21, 2020) — Orpheus Chamber Orchestra today announces programming for its 2020-21 season with three concerts presented by the organization in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall and two concerts presented by the 92nd Street Y, as well as touring engagements throughout the United States. Orpheus collaborates this season with an innovative group of soloists including soprano Karen Slack, guitarist Pablo Sáinz-Villegas, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and pianist Fazil Say at Carnegie Hall, and Angela Hewittand Christian Tetzlaff at 92Y, in addition to Alessio Bax on tour.

In announcing the 2020-21 season, Executive Director Alexander Scheirle expresses, “As the response to COVID-19 continues, we acknowledge that our concert schedule may change, and that our own lives are just as unpredictable. But we can make this promise: we’ll be here when the concert halls open. We’ll be here when the ushers start scanning tickets. We’ll be here, ready with our music for healing, connecting, and celebrating. And we look forward to sharing that moment with our fans.”

Before the New York City season opens, Orpheus embarks on a tour with pianist Alessio Bax with concerts in Texas and New York, includingSaturday, October 10, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at Stude Concert Hall at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston presented by Chamber Music Houston. The performances feature Elgar’s Serenade in E minor for Strings, Op. 20; Dvořák’s Notturno in B, Op. 40; Suk’s Serenade for Strings; and Mozart’s Concerto for Piano No. 12 in A Major K414 with Bax as featured soloist.

Orpheus officially opens its 2020-21 season on Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hallwith Speaking Truth to Power, an homage to courageous voices. The concert features soprano Karen Slack in the New York premiere of Tarkmann’s chamber orchestra arrangement of Beethoven’s Incidental Music from Egmont, Op. 84, accompanied by a powerful new translation of Goethe’s historical drama by Philip Boehm. Orpheus pairs this work with Valerie Coleman’s Phenomenal Women, a work inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem and book of the same name in which virtuosic soloists within the orchestra weave inspiring portraits of real-life heroines in storied moments of adversity and achievement. Orpheus premiered the chamber orchestra arrangement of Phenomenal Women at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C in 2019.

Orpheus presents Spanish Fantasía on Saturday, January 23 at 7:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall, a program featuring internationally acclaimed guitarist Pablo Sáinz-Villegas in his Orpheus debut performing Rodrigo’s classic concerto Fantasía para un gentilhombre. Orpheus gives the New York premiere of Courtney Bryan’s Carmen Jazz Suite on Themes by Bizet, a contemporary and experimental new commission that includes responses to selected themes from Bizet’s classic 1875 opera, imagining a world in which Carmen lives and wins. The piece features long-time Orpheus collaborator, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, as a special guest member of the orchestra, with whom Marsalis has collaborated for 20 years. Courtney Bryan studied in her native New Orleans with Marsalis’ father, renowned American jazz pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis Jr. Also on the program is Rossini’s Overture to The Barber of Seville, Rodrigo’sSoleriana, and Turina’s La oración del torero.

The performance is bookended by an extensive seven-state US tour featuring Marsalis as soloist from January 8-26, 2021, including stops on Saturday, January 9, 2021 at 8:00 p.m. at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California; on Monday, January 11, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. presented by Palm Springs Friends of Philharmonic at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA; on Wednesday, January 21, 2021 at 8:00 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland; on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Illinois; and many more to be announced. The tour concerts include a program of Rossini’s Overture to The Barber of Seville, Rodrigo’s Soleriana, Ibert’s Concertino da camera, Debussy’s Rhapsody for alto sax & orchestra, Turina’s La oración del torero, and Bryan’s Carmen Jazz Suite on Themes by Bizet.

Pianist Angela Hewitt is featured with Orpheus in an all-Bach program on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 8:00 p.m. presented by the 92nd Street Y at Kaufmann Concert Hall. The program includes J. S. Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No. 4 in A Major; Keyboard Concerto, No. 2 in E Major; Keyboard Concerto No. 5 in F minor; Concerto for flute, violin, keyboard in A minor (“Triple”); and Keyboard Concerto No. 7 in G minor.

On Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 7:30 p.m, the 92nd Street Y presents Orpheus in an all-Mozart program featuring German violinist Christian Tetzlaff in the composer’s Concerto for Violin No. 3 in G Major, K216 and Rondo in C Major for Violin and Orchestra, K373, paired with Mozart’s Symphony No. 10 in G, K74 and Symphony No. 29 in A, K201 (K186a). The Chicago Tribune describes Tetzlaff’s playing as having an “extra degree of incisive brilliance and fierce elegance.”

Turkish pianist and composer Fazil Say reunites with Orpheus on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. in the orchestra’s season finale concert,Becoming, at Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall. The program includes Abel’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major arranged by Mozart; Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in F Major featuring Say as soloist; Say’s 2015 Orpheus commission Chamber Symphony, Op. 62; and the New York premiere of Fazil Say’s own Yürüyen Kösk, Op. 72b.

Orpheus Artistic Director James Wilson says, “Equality, justice, beauty and tradition – these powerful words reverberate through both Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s mission and our 2020-21 season. We are thrilled to bring our audiences the musical treasures of Mozart, Bach, and Debussy, in addition to exciting new creations by trail blazers such as Courtney Bryan, Valerie Coleman and Fazil Say. And it all kicks off with a bang with Beethoven’s ode to freedom, ‘Egmont.’”