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Incomparable flutist James Galway will join forces with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in a gala concert 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, at Easton’s State Theatre, 453 Northampton Street. The “Tour de France” includes works by Gabriel Fauré and Georges Bizet, and 20th century works by Maurice Ravel and Jacques Ibert.

This special event is cosponsored by the Lafayette College cultural program and the State Theatre. It is part of a gala tour for Orpheus and Galway at a limited number of venues, culminating with a Carnegie Hall concert in December. Tickets cost $47 and may be ordered by calling the State Theatre box office at 610-252-3132.

This collaboration between Orpheus and Galway continues a Lafayette tradition of presenting Orpheus in the company of distinguished guest soloists as part of special recording projects and gala appearances at Carnegie Hall. In 1995, Lafayette hosted the first public performance that violinist Gil Shaham and Orpheus gave of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” and last March, the Williams Center hosted the premiere performance of “Jazz Suites” by Orpheus and Branford Marsalis, subsequently recorded for Sony Classical release. This November 29 collaboration between Orpheus and Galway is being offered at the State Theatre to accommodate the large number of patrons expected to attend.

The selections for the first portion of the program are “Le Tombeau de Couperin” by Ravel and Ibert’s “Flute Concerto.” After intermission, the concert will continue with Fauré’s “Fantasy for Flute and Orchestra, Op. 79,” orchestrated by Galway, and “Symphony No. 1 in C major” by Bizet.

Galway is internationally regarded as both a matchless interpreter of the classical repertory and a consummate entertainer whose charismatic appeal crosses all musical boundaries. His unique sound, superb musicianship, and dazzling virtuosity have made him one of the most respected performing artists of our time. Through his extensive tours, numerous best-selling recordings and videos, and frequent television appearances, he has reached vast and diverse audiences worldwide, creating enthusiastic new fans for classical music. Besides playing music ranging from Bach, Vivaldi, and Mozart to contemporary music, jazz, and folk melodies, Galway continues to broaden the flute literature through his many commissions of works by contemporary composers, and by incorporating these new works into his regular concert programs in seasons following the premiere. In recognition of these accomplishments, Galway was named the 1997 Musician of the Year by Musical America.

Galway continues to circle the globe annually with a mixture of recitals, concerto appearances, chamber music, and master classes. Recently, he has taken up the baton, and in addition to numerous play/conduct engagements around the world, he is now entering his second season as principal guest conductor of the London Mozart Players.

On July 4, Galway helped celebrate the first Independence Day of the century as a guest soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra in a nationally televised PBS special, “A Capitol Fourth,” broadcast live from the West Lawn of the Capitol. Highlights of his United States concert schedule for the 2000-2001 season include the world premiere of a flute concerto written for him by British composer David Heath with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Galway has won numerous awards for his recordings, including a Grand Priz du Disque and Record of the Year awards from both Cash Box and Billboard magazines, a platinum record, and several gold records. In 1999, his long-time record label, RCA, honored him by compiling a 15-CD retrospective box set in celebration of his 60th birthday year. His latest CD is Un-break My Heart, a collection of orchestral arrangements of recent popular hits.

One of Ireland’s foremost musical exports, Galway has performed and recorded the music of his native land throughout his career. Most recently, he appeared as a special guest soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a 1999 tour of major arenas in the Northeast featuring the Three Irish Tenors, who reprised much of the music from their popular PBS special. He has also collaborated frequently, both on stage and in recording, with award-winning Irish recording artist Phil Coulter.

Galway was born in Belfast, North Ireland. After mastering the penny whistle, he began serious training on the flute, winning three top prizes in a local competition at age 12. He continued his studies at London’s Royal College of Music and Guildhall School, the Paris Conservatoire, and with famed flutist Marcel Moyse. A serious of positions with leading British orchestras culminated in his appointment as principal flute of the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan in 1969. After six years, he decided to establish a solo career, and within a year, had recorded his first four RCA LPs, played more than 120 concerts, and appeared as a soloist with London’s four major orchestras. In 1979, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his musical contributions to society.

Recognized as one of the world’s foremost chamber orchestras, Orpheus was founded by cellist Julian Fifer in New York City in 1972, making its Lincoln Center debut just two years later. The group is now heard regularly in Carnegie Hall, presenting a five-concert series there each year, 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.

Orpheus won three 1999 Grammy Awards for its jazz-inspired Ravel and Gershwin collaboration with Herbie Hancock. 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.

Orpheus has made over 50 recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, including several Haydn symphonies and Mozart serenades, the complete Mozart wind concertos with Orpheus members as soloists, romantic works by Grieg, Tchaikovsky, and others, and a number of 20th-century classics by Bartók, Prokofiev, Copland, and Stravinsky.

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