Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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New York, NY 10027-5788

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Press Kit

Orpheus & Pekka Kuusisto at Carnegie Hall

MONDAY JAN 10 2022 8:00AM

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra begins its Carnegie Hall season with Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto and a world premiere by Hannah Kendall

Orpheus & Pekka header

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 10, 2022

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra returns to Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage on January 29, 2022 with a vibrant program, featuring the charismatic violinist, Pekka Kuusisto.

Orpheus opens their “Coming Home” concert with the world premiere (Orpheus commission) of Hannah Kendall’s Tuxedo: Plaid x Plaid. Widely acclaimed for their vivacious interpretations of Mozart, Orpheus is joined by Kuusisto for the “Turkish” Concerto for Violin No. 5 in A Major, K. 219, followed by a Heribert Brewer arrangement of Schubert’s Chamber Symphony in B-flat Major (after Piano Sonata D. 960).

​​English-Guyanese composer and Columbia University doctoral candidate Hannah Kendall drew her inspiration for Tuxedo: Plaid x Plaid from the eight-foot tall Tuxedo by Jean-Michel Basquiat, the graffiti artist turned gallery sensation in the 1980s. On a visit to the Guggenheim Museum several years ago, Kendall was gripped by Basquiat’s masterpiece, completed in 1983 at the age of 22, and she sat studying the piece of art’s sixteen distinct sections for over two hours. In response, Kendall will spend several years rendering her impressions into a series of works also titled Tuxedo, including the latest installment commissioned by Orpheus. “Basquiat was interested in this notion of Black quality and Black uprising,” Kendall notes, “with the tuxedo being a garment of quality.” Without knowing exactly what plaid meant for Basquiat, Kendall’s British background makes her “think of Scotland in particular, and the role that Scotland played in the Atlantic slave trade,” including extensive trading in her family’s homeland of Guyana on the Caribbean coast. One particular extended technique adds another layer of social commentary, when Kendall asks for some of the violinists to prepare their instruments with metal dreadlock cuffs wrapped around two strings. “I find it fascinating how we have all these traditional associations with an instrument,” Kendall explains, “but that this tiny piece of malleable metal for Afro hair can take the instrument to a completely new level and change and distort it.” (In one example, where the violinists tap their cuffed strings with the wood of the bow, it is meant to create a “very quiet, bright, insect-like sound.”)

Violinist, conductor and composer Pekka Kuusisto is renowned for his artistic freedom and fresh approach to repertoire. Kuusisto is an enthusiastic advocate of contemporary music and a gifted improviser and regularly engages with people across the artistic spectrum. Uninhibited by conventional genre boundaries and noted for his innovative programming, recent projects have included collaborations with Hauschka and Kosminen, Dutch neurologist Erik Scherder, pioneer of electronic music Brian Crabtree, eminent jazz-trumpeter Arve Henriksen, juggler Jay Gilligan, accordionist Dermot Dunne and folk artist Sam Amidon. Kuusisto has released several recordings, notably for Ondine and BIS. Recently, Kuusisto and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra presented the album First Light in 2021 (Pentatone) featuring the world premiere recording of Nico Muhly’s violin concerto, Shrink.

Last summer, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra released a box set on Deutsche Grammophon with a staggering 55 CDs in celebration of its 50th anniversary in 2022. Included are engrossing recordings with Martha Argerich, Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky, Jan Lisiecki and Gil Shaham, as well as remarkable soloists such as clarinetist Charles Neidich and French hornist William Purvis from within the orchestra. Additionally, there is an unpublished recording of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony from 2018, alongside outstanding programs presented with original cover art, and a 148-page booklet featuring never-before-seen material from the Orchestra’s archives.

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, as well as the cooperative spirit fostered by the rising ideal of collective artistic leadership. Dov Scheindlin, violist with Orpheus, explains: “[Orpheus] helped to demolish the Maestro myth, that leadership must be assigned to one firm hand, and brought a spirit of participation and equality to the fore.” The orchestra’s philosophy of collective and democratic leadership – from repertoire selection to rehearsal to its community outreach – extends from its foundation through to today.

Saturday, January 29, 2022 at 8:00PM (ET)

Carnegie Hall - Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Pekka Kuusisto, violin

HANNAH KENDALL | Tuxedo: Plaid x Plaid (world premiere)
MOZART | Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219 “Turkish”
SCHUBERT | Chamber Symphony in B-flat Major (after Piano Sonata D. 960) (arr. Heribert Breuer)

Additional Carnegie Hall concerts

Saturday, February 19, 2022 at 7:00PM (ET)
Carnegie Hall - Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Arturo Sandoval, trumpet

GERSHWIN |Cuban Overture (arr. Javier Diaz)
ARTURO SANDOVAL |  Concerto for Trumpet No. 2 (arr. Gregg August)
LECUONA | Andalucia Suite (arr. Jannina Norpoth)
ARTURO SANDOVAL | A Time For Love (arr. Gregg August)
ARTURO SANDOVAL | Every Day I Think Of You (arr. Gregg August)
ALDO LÓPEZ-GAVILÁN 90 Miles Afro-Mambo| (World Premiere)

Friday, April 29, 2022 at 8:00PM (ET)
Carnegie Hall - Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Nobuyuki Tsujii, piano

CHOPIN | Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor (arr. Shuying Li)
TCHAIKOVSKY | Serenade for Strings


Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf
+1 (517) 648-2339