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Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Morton Subotnick in Residence at the University of Maryland

Tue, Feb 01, 2011

The University of Maryland (UMD) School of Music (SOM) and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center's visiting artist program will welcome pioneers in music for the 2011-2012 season. Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, renowned for its conductor-less performances, and composer Morton Subotnick, a leading figure in the emergence of electronic music, will be part of the College of Arts & Humanities' Artists-in-Residence program in the School of Music, and will also present public performances during their time in College Park.

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra: Envisioning a New Approach to Ensemble Performance

Orpheus, a Grammy Award-winning classical music chamber orchestra, is known for its collaborative leadership style in which the musicians, and not a conductor, interpret the score.  Committed to reimaging traditional orchestral works as well as those of new contemporary composers, they extend the intimate style of chamber music into orchestral works.

Their residency will include coaching sessions, rehearsals and master classes, providing SOM students the opportunity to experience the Orpheus conductor-less ensemble performance process.  The experience will enable them to collaborate with a chamber orchestra that embodies the ethos and attributes the SOM considers essential for students entering the dynamic professional world of music as a career. 

"The skills one learns in performing chamber music -- listening closely, knowing when to lead, and when to follow, approaching performance with a collaborative spirit -- are the abilities that result in the best large ensemble performances, as well as in the best outcomes with all life's challenges," said SOM Director Robert Gibson.

Orpheus will perform several times during the season:

  • December 4 with the UMD Symphony Orchestra in Haydn's Symphony No. 90
  • February 10 with guest pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet
  • March 31 with UMD faculty artists, featuring Felix Mendelssohn's Octet in E-flat Major, op. 20



Morton Subotnick

Also joining the SOM as Artist-in-Residence is Morton Subotnick, a pioneer in the development of electronic music and multi-media performance. A known innovator in interactive computer music systems, Subotnick utilizes many of the genre's important technological breakthroughs in his music.

In addition to his work as a composer, Subotnick develops musical creative tools for young children. He is the author of a series of CD-ROMs for children, a children's website, and is currently developing a program for classroom and after school programs that will soon be available internationally.

During his first visit to campus in October, Subotnick will engage SOM composition and music education students in lectures about his work in both composition and music technology. He returns in April for a week of more lectures, masterclasses and performances, including:

  • A revival of his defining work, Silver Apples of the Moon in the Center's Grand Pavilion on April 18, accompanied by a lighting and projection landscape created in real time by visual/projection/lighting designer Lillievan. This free event is presented as part of the Clarice Smith Center's 10th Anniversary season.
  • A panel discussion on performing with technology, featuring renowned contemporary group VERGE ensemble on Tuesday, April 17.
  • A VERGE ensemble performance of Subotnick's music on April 21.