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Orpheus Chamber Orchestra returns to Lafayette's Williams Center for the Arts for the 16th consecutive year, presenting works by Haydn, Mendelssohn, Jean Sibelius, and Elliott Carter 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10. The concert will feature Orpheus violinist Eric Wyrick as soloist.

Public tickets for the concert are sold out. To inquire about student, faculty, and staff tickets, call the Williams Center box office at 610-330-5010.

The concert will open with Franz Josef Haydn's Symphony No. 73, nicknamed “La Chasse” because of the hunting call themes incorporated in the first movement. Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto will follow with Wyrick as soloist. After intermission, the ensemble will perform Jean Sibelius' “Valse Triste” and Symphony No. 1 by celebrated American composer Elliott Carter.

The chamber orchestra will return to the Williams Center 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, to perform music of the Americas, as represented by Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Villa-Lobos of Brazil, and Ginastera of Argentina, among others.

The Orpheus series is Lafayette's proudest accomplishment in cultural programming, with memorable performances highlighted by such celebrated guest artists as Gil Shaham, Jeffrey Kahane, Branford Marsalis, Mischa Maisky, and James Galway. Williams Center audiences enjoy the orchestra's final polishing of its award-winning recording projects, major international tours, and numerous Carnegie Hall programs.

A member of Orpheus since 1988, Wyrick is concertmaster of American Symphony Orchestra, L'Opera Francais New York, and EOS Music. He is the assistant concertmaster of New York City Opera Orchestra. An active chamber musician, Wyrick is a frequent guest of Houston's DaCamera Society, and of the Hudson Highlands Festival. He is also a member of Perspectives Ensemble in New York. Wyrick has made solo television appearances in the American Playhouse production of Andre's Mother and the Dance in America presentation of Chausson Poeme for American Ballet Theater. Wyrick has performed as soloist with Danish Radio Orchestra, Orchestre de Toulouse, EOS Music, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and San Angelo Symphony Orchestra. He has recorded for Bridge Records, Vanguard and, with Orpheus, he has made numerous CDs for Deutsche Grammophon.

Recognized internationally as one of the world's great chamber orchestras, Orpheus celebrates its 30th season of concert activity spanning four continents, including appearances in the major cities of North and South America, Europe, and Asia. The centerpiece of each Orpheus season is its five-concert series at Carnegie Hall.

Accompanying the critical acclaim for the orchestra's live appearances are numerous distinctions and awards, including a 2001 Grammy Award for Shadow Dances: Stravinsky Miniatures, three 1999 Grammy Awards for its jazz-inspired Ravel and Gershwin collaboration with Herbie Hancock, a 1998 Grammy nomination for its recording of Mozart piano concertos with Richard Goode, and the 1998 “Ensemble of the Year” award by Musical America.

Orpheus was founded in 1972 by cellist Julian Fifer and a group of fellow musicians who aspired to perform chamber orchestral repertory as chamber music through their own close collaborative efforts, and without a conductor. Orpheus developed its approach to the study and performance of this repertory by bringing to the orchestral setting the chamber music principles of personal involvement and mutual respect. Orpheus is a self-governing organization, making the repertory and interpretive decisions ordinarily assumed by a conductor. Holt/NY Times Books published a book about Orpheus and its management model, Leadership Ensemble: Lessons in Collaborative Management from the World's Only Conductorless Orchestra, written by Orpheus executive director Harvey Seifter and business writer Peter Economy.

Members of Orpheus have received recognition for solo, chamber music, and orchestral performances. Many of the core members hold teaching positions at prominent conservatories and universities in the New York and New England areas, including Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Mannes College of Music, Columbia University, and Yale University.

Orpheus has recorded extensively for Deutsche Grammophon. Included in the catalogue of over 50 recordings are several Haydn symphonies and Mozart serenades, the complete Mozart wind concertos with Orpheus members as soloists, Romantic works by Dvorák, Grieg, and Tchaikovsky, and a number of 20th-century classics by Bartók, Prokofiev, Copland and Stravinsky. Recent collaborations include a recording with countertenor Andreas Scholl released last November (Decca); “Creation,” a jazz-inspired CD of classics from 1920s Paris with saxophonist Branford Marsalis (SONY Classical); a series of recordings of Mozart piano concertos with Richard Goode (Nonesuch); a recording with cellist Mischa Maisky (DG); and a recording of Piazzolla works with tango pianist Pablo Ziegler (BMG).

During the 2002-2003 season, Orpheus' national and international touring will include appearances in Edinburgh, Houston, Santa Barbara, Vancouver, and Tokyo. In addition to its Carnegie Hall concerts, the orchestra's New York season will include opening Lincoln Center's Great Performers series and two major educational initiatives: a residency with Baruch College of the City University of New York, and a significant expansion of Orpheus' curriculum development and teaching programs in New York City public schools.

The nationally recognized Performance Series at Lafayette attracts more than 10,000 people each season. It has been cited for performing excellence by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, Chamber Music America, Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Fund, Pennsylvania Arts and Humanities Councils, and Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

The 2002-03 Performance Series at Lafayette is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts; by the F.M. Kirby Foundation; by provisions of the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence Program, the James Bradley Fund, and the Ed Brunswick Jazz Fund; and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, and New England Foundation for the Arts.

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