Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
490 Riverside Drive, 11th floor
New York, NY 10027-5788
(212) 896 1700
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 13, 2021
In January 2022, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will tour with the celebrated jazz musician Branford Marsalis for seven performances across the US: Palm Desert, Irvine (CA), Richmond (VA), Bethesda (MD), Chicago (IL), Bronxville (NY), and West Palm Beach (FL). In a program which explores the intersectionality of jazz and classical music, repertoire selections range from Debussy’s jazz-inspired Rhapsody for alto saxophone and chamber orchestra, to the world premiere of the Orpheus-commissioned Carmen Jazz Suite on Themes by Bizet by New Orleans-based composer Courtney Bryan.
Orpheus and Marsalis are reuniting as musical colleagues, having released “Creation” - which had been the saxophonist’s first classical endeavor in 15 years - in 2001. In spring 2020, Orpheus and Marsalis were to give the premiere (delayed due to Covid-19) of Bryan’s Carmen Jazz Suite on Themes by Bizet, a contemporary and experimental new commission that includes responses to selected themes from Bizet’s classic 1875 opera, imagining a world in which Carmen lives and wins. In her early years, Bryan studied in her native New Orleans with Marsalis’ father, renowned American jazz pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis Jr.
The tour marks a triumphant moment in Orpheus’s history, as touring has been a fundamental part of its artistic ethos since its founding. This tour with Marsalis, which was rescheduled from its original January 2021 dates, will be the first time the Orchestra has toured since the pandemic. On January 29, Orpheus returns to its home in New York City, Carnegie Hall, with the first of three concerts in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, in a program with guest artist Pekka Kuusisto on violin (concerts later in the season feature trumpeter and composer Arturo Sandoval and pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii).
New Orleans-born Branford Marsalis is an award-winning saxophonist, band leader, featured classical soloist, and a film and Broadway composer. In the process, he has become a multi award-winning artist with three Grammys, a citation by the National Endowment for the Arts as a Jazz Master and an avatar of contemporary artistic excellence.
The Branford Marsalis Quartet, formed in 1986, remains his primary means of expression. In its virtually uninterrupted three-plus decades of existence, the Quartet has established a rare breadth of stylistic range as demonstrated on the band’s latest release: The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul. But Branford has not confined his music to the jazz quartet context. A frequent soloist with classical ensembles, Branford has become increasingly sought after as a featured soloist with acclaimed orchestras around the world, performing works by composers such as Copeland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem, Vaughan Williams and Villa-Lobos. And his legendary guest performances with the Grateful Dead and collaborations with Sting have made him a fan favorite in the pop arena.
Courtney Bryan, a native of New Orleans, LA, is “a pianist and composer of panoramic interests” (New York Times). Her music is in conversation with various musical genres, including jazz and other types of experimental music, as well as traditional gospel, spirituals, and hymns. Focusing on bridging the sacred and the secular, Bryan's compositions explore human emotions through sound, confronting the challenge of notating the feeling of improvisation. Bryan has academic degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (BM), Rutgers University (MM), and Columbia University (DMA) with advisor George Lewis, and completed an appointment as Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Bryan is currently an Assistant Professor of Music in the Newcomb Department of Music at Tulane University, and the Mary Carr Patton Composer-in-Residence with the Jacksonville Symphony.
She was the 2018 music recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, a 2019 Bard College Freehand Fellow, and is currently a 2019-20 recipient of the Samuel Barber Rome Prize in Music Composition and a 2020 United States Artists Fellow.
In 1972, a group of young artists made history by creating an orchestra without a conductor in which musicians led themselves democratically. Since then, the Grammy Award-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra has recorded over 70 albums on all major classical labels, toured to 46 countries across four continents, and collaborated with hundreds of world-class soloists. Orpheus’ musicians work together as a collective and rotate leadership roles for all works performed, giving flight to unconventional interpretations. The orchestra presents an annual series in New York City at Carnegie Hall and regularly tours to major national and international venues. Orpheus shares its collaborative model through education and community engagement initiatives that promote equity and access to the arts for listeners of all ages.
Orpheus and Branford Marsalis
Debussy, Rossini, and Courtney Bryan
THU, JAN 13 | PALM SPRINGS FRIENDS OF PHILHARMONIC
Palm Desert, CA
SAT, JAN 15 | PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY OF ORANGE COUNTY
WED, JAN 19 | MODLIN CENTER FOR THE ARTS
THU, JAN 20 | MUSIC CENTER AT STRATHMORE
North Bethesda, MD
SUN, JAN 23 | REFORMED CHURCH OF BRONXVILLE
SUN, FEB 6 | KRAVIS CENTER
West Palm Beach, FL
ROSSINI Overture to The Barber of Seville
COURTNEY BRYAN Carmen Jazz Suite on Themes by Bizet - Branford Marsalis, alto saxophone (world premiere, commissioned by Orpheus)
TURINA La oración del torero
IBERT Concertino da camera - Branford Marsalis, alto saxophone
DEBUSSY Rhapsody for alto saxophone and chamber orchestra - Branford Marsalis, alto saxophone
For high-resolution images, contact Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org