Anticipating the 50th anniversary of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in 2022, we present their complete recordings on DG. The intriguing sound culture of Orpheus, especially of the string section, is often explained as a result of the cooperative mindset of the orchestra and its artistic process of rehearsing.
Orpheus' discography on Deutsche Grammophon is a gem worthy of rediscovery, and includes stunning recordings with Martha Argerich, Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky, Jan Lisiecki, and Gil Shaham; as well as an unpublished recording of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony from 2018. The first pre-release track Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4: I. Allegro vivace is released today and will be followed by two singles to be released in July.
The box set is set to be released 20 August 2021 alongside 14 new to digital albums including works by composers such as Britten, Elgar, Bartók and Haydn are available for pre-order now!
The formation of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in 1972 was facilitated by the zeitgeist: the anti-establishment values of the protests against the American war in Vietnam, the cooperative spirit and therefore the rising ideal of collective artistic leadership. Julian Fifer, cellist and co-founder explains: “Orpheus was created at a time when food co-ops and communal living came into vogue.” The orchestra’s philosophy of collective and democratic leadership – which extends from repertoire selection to rehearsal to its social activity – has from its formation through today shaped its development.
The intriguing sound culture of Orpheus, especially of the string section, is often explained as a result of the cooperative mindset of the orchestra and its artistic process of rehearsing. Usually a core group of three musicians plus a rotating concertmaster form the musical interpretation of one piece, develop the basic concept, and serve as moderators and facilitators of the ideas coming from the orchestra’s players during a rehearsal. All members bear an imminent responsibility for the musical interpretations. Not only the orchestra members, but also outstanding record producers have formed the sound culture: In the first place, the legendary producer Wolf Erichson did an excellent job in capturing Orpheus’ extraordinary level of flexibility and transparency of sound on tape.
Borne of its partnership with Deutsche Grammophon, important milestones are the striking recordings of Mozart and Haydn, lauded albums such as Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphonies, pieces by Charles Ives, Stravinsky’s Shadow Dances, the Rossini Overtures, the Baroque Encores and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Incredible ensemble playing is matched by remarkable soloists such as Charles Neidich and William Purvis from the orchestra.
Orpheus’ philosophy of shared leadership continues to make inroads not just in the musical world, but also in the sphere of business via seminars and residencies, attracting the interest of numerous corporate CEOs. The orchestra established an “Orpheus Leadership Institute” to serve this public interest, and to spread the word about the self-developed method of collaboration, leadership, decision-making and achieving results. Orpheus might be the only musical ensemble which not only uses, but also teaches collective leadership as a fulfilling creative method. ''There’s a certain pride in the job that doesn’t allow you to play below a certain level of technique, expression and energy,'' as an orchestra member is quoted, and this energizing approach resonates also into the world of business consultants, MBA colleges and IT companies.
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon will be released 20 August 2021 and is available for pre-order now!