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The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will perform at the Williams Center for the Arts 8 p.m. Tuesday, January 25, in the second of its three Lafayette College performances for the year. Now in its 28th season, the “conductorless” ensemble will be joined by acclaimed pianist Radu Lupu as guest soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23.

The public is welcome to attend an open rehearsal free of charge at 5:30 p.m. the day of the concert. Public tickets to the concert are sold out. To inquire about last-minute ticket availability, contact the Williams Center box office at 610-330-5009.

The program opens with “Divertimento on ‘Sellinger’s Round'” by Sir Michael Tippett and continues with Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488 by Mozart with Lupu. Following intermission will be “Within Darkness” for Violin and Chamber Orchestra by Susan Botti, with Orpheus violinist Martha Caplin as soloist. This will be the world premiere for the piece, which Orpheus also will perform in Carnegie Hall on January 28. Orpheus commissioned it as part of the national series of works sponsored by Meet the Composer/Arts Endowment “Commissioning Music/USA,” with support from the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. The closing selection of the concert will be Serenade No. 2 in A major, Op. 16 by Johannes Brahms.

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 important, they make the interpretive decisions that are usually the responsibility of the conductor.

Lupu was born in Romania in 1945 and began studying piano at age six with Lia Busuioseanu. Six years later, he made his debut in a complete program of his own music. He received a scholarship to attend the Moscow Conservatory in 1961. While still a student, Lupu won first prizes in the 1966 Van Cliburn, 1967 Enescu International and 1969 Leeds International competitions. In 1989, he was awarded the Abbiati Prize by the Italian Critics’ Association. Lupu has appeared as soloist and recitalist in the world’s music capitals, and recorded works by Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Schubert, and Schumann. He has won a Grammy and an Edison Award.

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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