Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

Biography

The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is one of the world's most esteemed small orchestras, perhaps most notable for what it lacks--namely, a conductor. Orpheus operates on the basis of rotating leadership among a collective group of equals. Co-founder Julian Fifer, a cellist, says he and a group of like-minded musicians were inspired to found the orchestra in 1972 from various ideals that grew during that era, including "questioning of authority and a Read more renewed emphasis on collective goals, [which] inspired [them] to create an ensemble whose artistic expression was based on shared leadership and responsibility."

For each work the group programs, a concertmaster and principal players are elected to determine the concept for the performance and to direct rehearsals. At final rehearsals, all members contribute to refining the performance and execution; in performance, the members play with chamber-music-like attention to each other. The results, characterized by great precision, character and dramatic flair, have distinguished Orpheus from all other conductorless ensembles, which often lack musical personality.

The basic orchestra normally comprises eighteen strings and around half that many winds. The core of their concert life is a subscription series at Carnegie Hall in New York, and an additional series at the city's Riverside Church.

Orpheus' repertory ranges from Vivaldi to contemporary works, some of which have been commissioned by the group. Most of their recordings have been issued on the Deutsche Grammophon label, but late in the 1990s they began to expand their list of recorded projects, including one of tango-based works by Astor Piazzolla, a jazz-inspired album of Gershwin and Ravel with Herbie Hancock on Verve, and a series of Mozart piano concertos with Richard Goode on Nonesuch.

In 1998 Orpheus undertook a major tour of Southeast Asia, including Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Brunei, Taipei, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, and Hanoi. This included the first performance in Vietnam by an American orchestra since the end of the Vietnam War. While in Hanoi, members of the orchestra conducted master classes on their instruments and on ensemble playing at the Hanoi National Conservatory of Music.

Back in the United States, the group has begun to share its philosophy of shared leadership with non-musical organizations, giving seminars to corporate executives (including those of Kraft Foods and Novartus Pharmaceuticals). Read less
Browse 1-25 of 89 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Bach Adagio [2015]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002415902 Release Date: 11/20/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ferruccio Busoni
    Performer:  János Starker,  András Schiff,  Janine Jansen,  Albrecht Mayer  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  Ottavio Dantone,  Riccardo Chailly,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  English Concert,  Academia Bizantina  ... 
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  • 2.
    Stravinsky Complete Edition [30-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002398272 Release Date: 10/23/2015   Number of Discs: 30
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer,  Ian Caley,  Phyllis Bryn-Julson,  John Tomlinson  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Riccardo Chailly,  Claudio Abbado,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $191.98
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  • 3.
    Martha Argerich: The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002364402 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 48
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Guy Touvron,  Gidon Kremer,  Alexandre Gurning  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Charles Dutoit,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Jörg Faerber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Tchaikovsky: Masterworks Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002362102 Release Date: 09/04/2015   Number of Discs: 27
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Rosemarie Lang,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Ruthid Engert-Ely,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Seiji Ozawa,  Mikhail Pletnev  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Dresden,  Tchaikovsky Choir,  French National Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    Virtuoso -  Mozart Flute & Harp Concerto, A Musical Joke
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002256302 Release Date: 02/17/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Nancy Allen,  Susan Palma
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $7.99
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: The Creatures of Prometheus / Orpheus
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 419608 Release Date: 12/04/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Haydn: Symphonies No 45
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 423376 Release Date: 12/04/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Opheus Chamber Orchestra: 3 Classic Albums [limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002093502 Release Date: 07/15/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Susan Palma,  Nancy Allen,  William Purvis,  Frank Morelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $21.99
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  • 9.
    100 Great Symphonies
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002054602 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Giovanni Battista Sammartini,  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Johann Christian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Hanna Schwarz,  René Kollo,  Kurt Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Kevin Mallon,  Christopher Hogwood,  Thomas Füri,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aradia Ensemble,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Camerata Bern  ... 
    CD: $245.99
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  • 10.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7 / Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Orpheus   Catalog: 1 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 11.
    10 Classic Albums / Mischa Maisky [11-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001801402 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles Gounod,  George Frideric Handel,  Jean-Baptiste Lully  ... 
    Performer:  Mischa Maisky,  Pavel Gililov,  Daria Hovora,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    Rossini: Overtures / Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415363 Release Date: 12/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Mozart 111 [55-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001766872 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Emil Gilels,  Elena Gilels,  Maurizio Pollini  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  James Levine,  Herbert von Karajan,  Marc Minkowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $164.49
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  • 14.
    The Complete Duo Recordings / Argerich, Kremer, Maisky
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001649002 Release Date: 03/20/2012   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Robert Schumann,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Gidon Kremer,  Martha Argerich,  Mischa Maisky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Beethoven: Complete Concertos / Pollini, Kremer, Shaham [5-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001607002 Release Date: 10/18/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Pascal Gallois,  Patrick Gallois  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum,  Karl Böhm,  Kurt Sanderling,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 16.
    Autumn In The Park
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 09305 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Joseph Canteloube,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes,  Hugh Bean,  Lesley Garrett,  Sarah Chang  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Paul Daniel,  Sir David Willcocks  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Session Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 17.
    Espana - Berganza, Caballe, Carreras, Domingo, Bernstein
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435852 Release Date: 02/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Anonymous,  Manuel de Falla,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Narciso Yepes,  Teresa Berganza,  Montserrat Caballé,  José Carreras  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Luis Garcia-Navarro,  Leonard Bernstein,  Reynald Giovaninetti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 18.
    Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto; Mendelssohn: Violin & Piano Concerto / Kremer
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 459043 Release Date: 09/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Gidon Kremer,  Martha Argerich
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Martha Argerich - The Collection 2 - The Concerto Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001319202 Release Date: 08/18/2009   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Guy Touvron,  Gidon Kremer
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Jörg Faerber,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 20.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos No 21 & 22 / Jonathan Biss
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17270 Release Date: 10/14/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Jonathan Biss
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Saint-Saens: Cello Concerto no 1, Cello Sonata no 1 / Maisky, Hovora
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 457599 Release Date: 08/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Mischa Maisky,  Daria Hovora
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 22.
    A Set Of Pieces - Music By Charles Ives / Orpheus CO
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439869 Release Date: 08/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Ives
    Performer:  Gilbert Kalish
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Elgar: Introduction And Allegro, Etc; Vaughan Williams / Orpheus CO
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 419191 Release Date: 04/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Haydn: Symphonies No 48 & 49 / Orpheus CO
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 419607 Release Date: 04/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Dvorák: Serenades Op 22 & 44 / Orpheus CO
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415364 Release Date: 03/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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