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A perennial favorite, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra once again brings their innovative musical style to Lafayette College. The orchestra will perform 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 23 at Lafayette’s Williams Center for the Arts. Tickets are $22 and may be purchased from the box office by calling 610-330-5009.

Lafayette will host an open rehearsal at 5:30 p.m. prior to the Tuesday concert. The public is welcome to attend and to observe the special rehearsal techniques which Orpheus uses to hone their “conductorless” approach to performance.

For their first Lafayette engagement this spring, Orpheus will perform a program that includes the transcription for string orchestra of Beethoven’s String Quartet in C-Sharp Minor, opus 131, and Maurice Ravel’s G-Major Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, with heralded Finnish pianist Olli Mustonen as soloist. The group will also perform Mozart’s Overture to “The Impresario,” K.486.

As a special highlight, the March 23 performance will feature the premiere of Drifting Center: Sansara II, a new work by Chinese-American composer Han Yong. The work takes its title from the Buddhist definition of Sansara, defined by the Random House Dictionary as “the process of coming into existence as a differentiated, mortal creature.” Born into a family of musicians in Xi’an, northwestern China in 1957, Yong earned a composition degree in 1978 from Shanghai Conservatory. In 1987, Yong resettled in New York City where he has been commissioned to compose for various groups. Recent works include a score for the PBS television documentary Escape from China.

Internationally acclaimed Finnish pianist Olli Mustonen lends his formidable talents to Orpheus. Making his professional performance debut as a teenager, Mustonen, now in his thirties, has performed with leading orchestras from around the world including the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Royal Philharmonic in London, the Chicago Symphony, and the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras.

Celebrating its 27th season, Orpheus is recognized as one of the world’s leading chamber orchestras whose members hail from a rich and diverse musical background. The orchestra is known most notably for its innovative method of self-governing without the leadership of a conductor. Orchestra members assume responsibility for repertory, programming, rehearsal techniques and rotation of seating arrangements allowing each player to serve as section leader. Orpheus has toured worldwide and has garnered numerous awards including 1998 Ensemble of the Year from Musical America as well as a Grammy nomination for its recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 25 with Richard Goode.

Orpheus returns to the Williams Center on Friday, April 30, when they will perform Prokofiev’s Sinfonietta, Delius’s Irmelia Suite, Faure’s Suite from Pelleas and Melisande, and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, featuring Elmar Oliveira as soloist.

The performance is sponsored, in part, by grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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