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Features

Award-winning Orion Ensemble artists ready to shine on stage

The Orion Ensemble stars violinist Florentina Ramniceanu (from left), cellist Judy Stone, pianist Diana Schmueck and clarinetist Kathryne Pirtle.
The Orion Ensemble stars violinist Florentina Ramniceanu (from left), cellist Judy Stone, pianist Diana Schmueck and clarinetist Kathryne Pirtle.

The Orion Ensemble's third concert of its 27th season takes place March 1 at the special time of 3 p.m., followed by a wine and cheese benefit reception. After many years of Geneva performances, the ensemble this season appears at New England Congregational Church in Aurora.

The concert program will be repeated in Chicago at 7:30 p.m. March 4, with two student ensembles including the Earl Clemens Wind Quintet from the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, whose local players include Ben Fioresi on horn from Geneva High School and two St. Charles East High School students, Sage Overstreet on clarinet, and Shae Atkins on bassoon. The student ensemble will play Quintet, Op. 79, by August Klughardt (1847-1902) at the PianoForte studios, 1335 S. Michigan Ave. Orion also will appear March 8 in Evanston, a news release stated.

The March 1 reception includes wine, hors d’oeuvres, cheeses and desserts. Singer-guitarist Makena Hartlin will perform a short set of jazz classical and musical theater selections.

A highlight of the Orion concert program is the premiere of clarinetist Kathryne Pirtle and violinist Florentina Ramniceanu's arrangement of Ugandan composer Justinian Tamusuza's "Mu Kkubo Ery 'Omusaalaba" ("On the Way of the Cross") for clarinet quartet (1993), a rhythmically innovative and captivating work earlier recorded by the Kronos Quartet, according to the release.

The award-winning ensemble also is comprised of pianist Diana Schmueck and cellist Judy Stone. Peter Schickele (aka PDQ Bach) said Orion is "what chamber music should be all about: individual virtuosity melded into a group personality."

Orion's 2019-20 season, which includes guest violist Stephen Boe on all programs, concludes with Mozart, Borodin and Schumann, featuring guest violinist Mathias Tacke, in May. Orion will appear on the broadcast series "Live from WFMT" on May 11.

If you go

WHAT: Orion Ensemble concert

WHERE: New England Congregational Church, 406 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora

WHEN: 3 p.m. March 1, plus concerts March 4 and 8 in Chicago and Evanston

COST: $30, $25 for seniors, $15 for students; free for children age 12 and younger; four-ticket flexible subscription provides 10% savings

INFO: 630-628-9591 or orionensemble.org


 

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