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Concert is part of Orpheus’ 20th season at Lafayette

The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra continues its 20th season at Lafayette with the “Croasdale Concert,” featuring Danish violinist Nikolaj Znaider at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb.3 in the Williams Center for the Arts.

Tickets are free for students, $4 for faculty and staff, and $27 for the public. They can be obtained by calling the Williams Center box office at (610) 330-5009.

Future performers in this year’s Chamber Music series are Trio Solisti with Alan Kay, March 12, $18; Orpheus with Dame Felicity Lott, March 28, $30; and the Emerson String Quartet, April 9, $22.

The performance by Orpheus will include works by Mozart and Tchaikovsky. Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 will feature Znaider and Mozart’s Wind Serenade in C minor will showcase Orpheus’ wind players. Other works to be performed include Waltz Scherzo and Serenade for Strings, both by Tchaikovsky.

Orpheus and Znaider will perform the same concert on Sat., Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. in Carnegie Hall.

Born in Denmark to Polish-Israeli parents, Znaider studied with Russian pedagogue Boris Kushnir. A keen recitalist and chamber musician, Znaider has shared the stage with the foremost artists of today such as Daniel Barenboim, Leif Ove Andsnes, Yuri Bashmet, Yefim Bronfman, Lynn Harrell, Lang Lang, and Pinchas Zukerman. His recent project, recording the complete Piano Trios of Mozart with Barenboim and Zlotnikov has just been released on EMI Classics.

Znaider is regularly invited to work with the world’s leading orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Cleveland Symphony.

An exclusive RCA Red Seal recording artist, Znaider’s latest recording of the Beethoven and Mendelssohn Violin Concerti with the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta has been greeted with critical acclaim. He returned to the studio to record the complete works for violin and piano of Johannes Brahms with Yefim Bronfman, who appeared on the Williams Center stage with Orpheus in October. Their album was released in April 2007.

Znaider is passionate about the education of musical talent and is the founder and artistic director of the Nordic Music Academy, an annual summer school with a mission to create conscious and focused musical development based on quality and commitment.

Nikolaj Znaider plays the Antonio Stradivarius “ex-Liebig” 1704 on extended loan to him by The Royal Danish Theater through the generosity of the Velux Foundations and the Knud H�jgaard Foundation.

The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 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 former Orpheus executive director Harvey Seifter and business writer Peter Economy.

Orpheus has received numerous distinctions and awards, including a 2001 Grammy Award for Shadow Dances: Stravinsky Miniatures, a 1999 Grammy Award for its jazz-inspired Ravel and Gershwin collaboration with Herbie Hancock, a 1998 Grammy nomination for its recording of Mozart piano concerti with Richard Goode, and the 1998 “Ensemble of the Year” award by Musical America.

Members of Orpheus have received recognition for solo, chamber music, and orchestral performances. Of the 18 string and 10 wind players who comprise the basic membership of Orpheus, many also hold teaching positions at prominent conservatories and universities in the New York and New England areas, including the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Montclair State University, Mannes College of Music, and Columbia and Yale Universities.

The 2007-2008 Performance Series at Lafayette College is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts; by provisions of the Josephine Chidsey Williams Endowment, J. Mahlon and Grace Buck Fund, the Croasdale Fund, the Class of ’73 Fund, 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; the F.M. Kirby Foundation, the Dexter and Dorothy Baker Foundation, and the New England Foundation for the Arts.

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