Preview: Orion Ensemble Goes Back to Its Roots

Orion Ensemble founders take the stage. Photo by Ed Ingold.

Orion Ensemble founders take the stage. Photo by Ed Ingold.

In its second offering of the 2016-17 season, the Orion Ensemble goes back to its roots with three of its founding members playing music from the 20th century. Serenade by Three: Orion Beginnings highlights the exquisite playing of clarinetist Kathryne Pirtle, violinist Florentina Ramniceanu and pianist Diana Schmück.

The program opens with Pirtle and Schmück playing Edward Yadzinski’s arrangement for piano and clarinet of Bartok’s Romaninan Folk Dances from 1915. Bartok scored this exuberant work twice, once for solo piano and a second time for orchestra. Yadzinski’s arrangement for clarinet and piano allows the clarinet to show off its full color.

Schmück next goes solo with Franz Liszt’s transcription from a Verdi opera, Rigoletto Fantasy, which she follows with two pieces by Isaac Albeniz. Schmück is then joined by Pirtle and Ramniceanu for Aram Khachaturian’s Trio for clarinet, violin, and piano from 1932.

All three musicians perform Srul Irving Glick’s Klezmer Wedding, but the concert concludes with the duo of Ramniceanu and Schmück playing John Williams’ music from the film Schindler’s List, arranged by the composer for violin and piano.

This program, already performed in Geneva, will be performed twice more in the Chicago area: Sunday, November 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston; and Wednesday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Single tickets are $26, $23 for seniors and $10 for students; admission is free for children 12 and younger. For more information, check out


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