Orion Ensemble welcomes guests Stephen Boe and Roger Chase for spring concerts

The Orion Ensemble concludes its 29th season with a concert program featuring guest violinist Stephen Boe and guest violist Roger Chase and featuring works by Mozart and Borodin at three venues: New England Congregational Church in Aurora (May 8), PianoForte Studios in Chicago (May 11) and Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston (May 15). Performances from Chicago and Evanston will also be available live.

Mozart composed the Clarinet Quintet, K. 581, among the first major chamber works for clarinet, in 1789 for clarinetist Anton Stadler (1753-1812), one of the first true virtuosos of this later instrument. The minuet of the third movement is of particular interest, with two trio sections, the first a very expressive episode for the strings and the second an enjoyable episode for the clarinet, drawing on mixtures of rustic elegance.

Borodin composed String Quartet No. 2 in 1881, dedicated to his wife as a 20th anniversary gift. The Nocturne third movement is perhaps the most famous section. Borodin, who is perhaps best known for Polovtsian dances, created a gem of chamber music that speaks eloquently of the passions inherent in the sounds of the Romantic era in Russia.

Roger Hunt has performed as principal guest viola with most major UK orchestras and many others in North America and Europe. The current owner of the 1717 Montagnana viola, he has recorded for EMI, Virgin and Hyperion and has taught at the Royal College of Music, Guildhall, Oberlin College and currently Roosevelt University in Chicago.

Stephen Boe, regular guest violinist/violist with The Orion Ensemble, has performed at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, as well as venues across Europe, China, South America and the United States . In 1991, he received an award at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and was artist-in-residence for the National Endowment for the Arts from 1993 to 1995. He was also a founding member of the New Artists String Quartet and concertmaster of the Brooks Unstrung Quartet.

As part of its Janet’s Stage program, Orion musicians train students from area middle and high schools. Joining the Ensemble for the May 8 performance at the New England Congregational Church is the Golden Trio from OPUS Chamber Music Camp, featuring violinist Sofia Radovic (St. Charles), bassist Ian King (Lisle) and pianist/harpist Miriam Kessler (Elgin). On the Orion Stage on Sunday, May 15 at Nichols Concert Hall, the Clemens Quintet of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, includes flautist Gail Creighton (Carol Stream), oboe player Linnea Dierson (Crystal Lake), clarinetist Lizzy Wallace (Crystal Lake), bassoon Larson Based (Huntley) and horn player Anna Creech (Glen Ellyn).

For policy updates related to COVID-19, email info@orionensemble.org closer to the performances. For Nichols Concert Hall (May 15), visit musicinst.org/covid-policy-nichols-concert-hall. Live streams from Chicago and Evanston will be available on Orion’s YouTube Channelwhich will also host a recording of the performance.

The Orion Ensemble performs its final in-person concert of the 2021-22 season at three locations: Sunday, May 8 at 7 p.m. at the New England Congregational Church, 406 W. Galena Boulevard, Aurora; Wednesday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. at PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago; and Sunday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston.

In-person tickets are $30, $25 for seniors (65+) and $15 for students. children 12 and under are free. Tickets are available in advance at 630-628-9591 or info@orionensemble.org. The livestream will be available on Orion’s YouTube Channel. All programming is subject to change; for information visit orionensemble.org.

About Roy B. Westling

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