The four talented women behind The Orion Ensemble are about to embark on their 27th season of concerts presented in the western suburbs, Chicago and Evanston, with a slight jaunt from their Geneva venue to a new spot just down the Fox River in Aurora at 7 p.m. Sept. 29.
The New England Congregational Church will be the west suburban home of the group, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.
Orion Ensemble board member Barbara King of Batavia has been helping spread the word about the new venue, which she said has excellent acoustics and is a quick, easy drive from the Tri-Cities to Aurora, where arts organizations are flourishing.
The sentiment is echoed by the church's senior pastor, the Rev. Gary McCann.
"Our historic sanctuary provides an excellent venue for chamber concerts, with very good acoustics, comfortable seating, and welcoming surroundings that will make your concert experience enjoyable," McCann said in announcing the news. "Our beautifully appointed narthex, adjacent to the concert area, is a perfect spot for Orion’s traditional post-concert receptions. If you have not visited Aurora recently, you may not be aware that over the last 15 years, it has become one of the premier art communities in the Chicago area."
King said the church has its own grand piano awaiting Diana Schmück. Her fellow Orion members are violinist Florentina Ramniceanu, cellist Judy Stone and clarinetist Kathryne Pirtle. Special guest all season will be violist Stephen Boe. Each artist plays with top classical ensembles in Chicago.
The concert program will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth with his Serenade in D Major, as well as works by Lili Boulanger, Louise Talma and Josef Labor.
“Playing chamber music in a wonderful ensemble is one of the most satisfying musical experiences of my life," Pirtle, an Addison resident who leads the ensemble, said in announcing the program. "I love being able to perform a wide range of challenging music with such incredible musical partners. … We have not yet played a concert in our new Aurora venue, but judging from what we have tried there, it is going to be a wonderful chamber music hall with a balanced, warm sound.”
With the same ticket, patrons are welcome to catch the concert more than once at the various venues. Orion will be the featured ensemble on "Live from WFMT," broadcast at 8 p.m. Nov. 18. And Schmück will play some of Boulanger's compositions on WFMT’s “Live from Studio One” at 8 p.m. Oct. 7.
If you go
WHAT: The Orion Ensemble launches new season
WHERE: New England Congregational Church, 406 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sept. 29
COST: Single tickets cost $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and $15 for students, with free admission for children age 12 and younger; subscriptions are available
INFO: 630-628-9591, orionensemble.org