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For the 13th consecutive year, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is bringing its inventive musical style to Lafayette College’s Williams Center for the Arts. Now in its 28th season, the “conductorless” orchestra has swelled its ranks to 45 players to perform Beethoven’s Symphony no. 3 “The Eroica,” Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosis Suite and Gluck’s overture to Orpeho ed Euridice at 8 p.m. Wednesday, September 22. A Williams Center rehearsal by Orpheus will be open to the public free of charge at 5:30 p.m. the day of the concert.

Tickets may be purchased through a subscription to the Williams Center’s Chamber Music series. It continues with 20th-century keyboard music from “Master of the Moderns” Anthony de Mare on October 13, the unparalleled American Brass Quintet on November 30, a return engagement by Orpheus on January 25, the acclaimed 45-member Estonian Chamber Choir and Orchestra on February 9, and celebrated pianist Awadagin Pratt and Friends on April 18. The price of the Chamber Music subscription series is $90, a savings of $18 compared to the total cost of buying the concerts separately. A very limited number of individual tickets are available. To order, call the Williams Center box office at 610-330-5009.

Recognized as one of the world’s foremost chamber orchestras, Orpheus was founded in New York City in 1972, making its Lincoln Center debut just two years later. The group is now heard regularly in Carnegie Hall, and tours extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad. It has appeared in more than 300 cities in 39 countries and in almost every state in the nation.

In 1998, Orpheus was honored with the Ensemble of the Year award from Musical America, as well as a Grammy nomination for its recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos nos. 9 and 25 with Richard Goode.

The ensemble is completely self-governing, holding rehearsals and performances sans conductor. The members are responsible for repertory, programming, rehearsal techniques, and the rotation of seating arrangements, which is done to give each player the opportunity to be a section leader. Most importantly, they make the interpretive decisions that are usually the responsibility of the conductor.

Each selection for the Williams Center performance pays tribute to historically significant music. “The Eroica” Symphony by Beethoven changed the course of musical history, investing the symphonic genre with a breadth of emotional richness and ushering in the age of Romanticism. Strauss’ Metamorphosis Suite was perhaps the pinnacle of the composer’s mastery of motivic development and thematic transformation. Gluck’s revolutionary Orpheo ed Euridice helped reform the world of Baroque grand opera, breaking the bonds of spectacle, ego and flamboyant vocalism.

The 1999-2000 Performance Series at Lafayette College is sponsored, in part, by grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Mid Atlantic Foundation for the Arts.

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