Daniel Phillips (Violin); Todd Phillips (Violin);
Steven Tenenbom (Viola); Timothy Eddy (Cello)
The Orion String Quartet is one of the most sought-after ensembles in the United States. Since its inception, the Quartet has been consistently praised for the fresh perspective and individuality it brings to performances, offering diverse programs that juxtapose classic works of the standard quartet literature with masterworks by twentieth and twenty-first century composers. The Quartet remains on the cutting edge of programming with wide-ranging commissions from composers Chick Corea, Brett Dean, David Del Tredici, Alexander Goehr, Thierry Lancino, John Harbison, Leon Kirchner, Marc Neikrug, Lowell Liebermann, Peter Lieberson and Wynton Marsalis, and has enjoyed a celebrated creative partnership with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. The members of the Orion String Quartet—violinists Daniel Phillips and Todd Phillips (brothers who share the first violin chair equally), violist Steven Tenenbom and cellist Timothy Eddy—have worked closely with such legendary figures as Pablo Casals, András Schiff, Rudolf Serkin, Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Peter Serkin, members of TASHI and the Beaux Arts Trio, as well as the Budapest, Végh, Galimir and Guarneri String Quartets. The Orion serves as Artist Members of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Quartet-in-Residence at New York's Mannes College of Music. “A noisy standing ovation is nothing rare, and these players certainly deserved theirs after the stellar performance. But silence can be an even better indicator of a powerful performance. After the Adagio in the Mendelssohn, the musicians managed to seduce the rustling, coughing, whispering audience into utterly silent awe.” The New York Times
The Quartet will be appearing at the Ravinia Festival, Toronto Summer Music Festival and Music Mountain with pianist Peter Serkin performing Dvorak and Brahms Piano Quintets. They will also perform at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival where they have become distinguished for commissions and unusual works by major composers.
Highlights of their 2014-15 season will be a European tour with concerts in Germany, Madrid, Bilbao and the Wigmore Hall in London. Their critical acclaim in performances of Haydn String Quartets have made this composer central in many programs this season. Returning to the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, they perform a program of Haydn, Webern and Reger's Piano Quartet with longtime musical partner Peter Serkin. Other US appearances will bring them to Yale with Windscape and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center where they will perform four Haydn Quartets as part of the Society's winter festival called Intimate Expressions.
In July 2014 the quartet performed the US premiere of Brett Dean’s String Quartet No. 2 “And once I played Ophelia” with soprano Tony Arnold at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. The ensemble celebrated its 25th anniversary in the 2012-2013 season with summer engagements at London’s Kings Place (where they have performed Beethoven and Brahms cycles), Chamber Music Northwest, Music@Menlo, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival where they presented the world premiere of Thierry Lancino’s Falling Angels. Multiple concerts for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center included Brett Dean’s Epitaphs (with the composer), the New York premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’s Perpetual Chaconne, and a complete program of works by Benjamin Britten at Chicago’s Harris Theater and New York’s Alice Tully Hall. The ensemble collaborated with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company at New York City’s Joyce Theater for a special two-week project featuring musical excerpts and arrangements of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Ravel and Schubert of which the New Yorker claimed, “the sound they made in the Joyce was tremendous.” The New York Times described the musical works as “given lustrous form by the Orion String Quartet,” and called the evening “a fine match of high-grade music and dance.” WQXR’s The Greene Space presented a live-broadcast of the collaboration with performance and conversation by the Quartet and Bill T. Jones. The Orion also embarked on its first-ever tour of Japan.
The ensemble has achieved an enviable reputation for its interpretations of Beethoven's string quartets, and has recorded the complete cycle for KOCH International Classics. All three volumes have received high praise from critics. The Strad called the Orion's performances “powerfully persuasive,” BBC Music Magazine hailed the first volume as “richly rewarding,” and Strings called the late quartets “thoughtful, deeply felt, meticulously executed performances." Outside of the recording studio, the ensemble first performed the entire cycle for the innovative Beethoven 2000 series of free concerts at Alice Tully Hall in May 2000 presented in conjunction with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The Quartet has subsequently performed the complete Beethoven cycle in Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Deerfield (MA), Indiana University in Bloomington, Santa Fe, and San Juan, PR. A critically lauded, five-concert performance cycle in Pittsburgh took place over a period of only three days. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said, "The ensemble's performances had the seemingly infinite attention to detail—from the voicing of a chord to the nuance of a phrase—that results from their long and loving exploration of Beethoven's quartets."
The Quartet's recordings reflect its musical diversity. Its 2010 Bridge Records release of various Peter Lieberson works featured the premiere recording of the composer’s Piano Quintet with Peter Serkin. In addition to the complete Beethoven quartets, the Orion released Leon Kirchner's complete string quartets on Albany Records, of which Gramophone Magazine acclaimed, “The Orion Quartet plays each score as if inhabiting its unique expressive world. The playing is at turns fierce, exquisite and detailed. It would be difficult to imagine Kirchner’s music treated with more loving attention to the introspective and arching aspects of this composer’s compelling art.” The Kirchner recording was also named a 2008 Top 10 Classical Recording by The Chicago Tribune and highlighted in The New York Times’ Holiday Gift Guide. Past recordings include Wynton Marsalis's first classical composition for strings, At the Octoroon Balls (String Quartet No. 1) for Sony Classical, Dvorák's "American" String Quartet and Piano Quintet with Peter Serkin and Mendelssohn's Octet with the Guarneri String Quartet, both on Arabesque.
The members of the Quartet maintain a strong dedication to the next generation of musical artists and serve on the faculties of the Mannes College of Music, Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, Queens College, Rutgers University and the Bard College Conservatory of Music where they teach private lessons, give chamber music classes and offer intensive coaching programs for young professional string quartets. They have also served as faculty members of the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall and the Summer Institute for Advanced Quartet Studies in Aspen. Since 1993, the Quartet has maintained a summer residency at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and premiered Marc Neikrug's piano quintet as part of the Festival which was subsequently recorded with Corea's The Adventures of Hippocrates and John Harbison's Quartet No. 4 for KOCH in 2006.
Heard on National Public Radio's Performance Today, the Orion has also appeared on PBS's Live from Lincoln Center, A&E's Breakfast with the Arts, and three times on ABC-TV's Good Morning America. Additionally, the Quartet was photographed with actress Drew Barrymore by Annie Leibovitz for the April 2005 issue of Vogue.
The Orion String Quartet gained immediate attention in the classical music world when its founding members, each with distinguished solo and chamber music careers, officially formed the ensemble in 1987. The Quartet chose its name from the Orion constellation as a metaphor for the unique personality each musician brings to the group in its collective pursuit of the highest musical ideals.
JULY 2014 – PLEASE DESTROY ALL PREVIOUSLY DATED MATERIALS