Since its inception, the Orion Quartet has been consistently praised for the extraordinary musical integrity it brings to performances, offering diverse programs that juxtapose classic works of the standard quartet literature with masterworks by 20th and 21st 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 enjoys a 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, Sir 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 Orions serve as season artists of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and quartet-in-residence at New York's Mannes School of Music, where they are featured in a four-concert series each year.
Marking its 30th anniversary, the Orion Quartet’s 2017-2018 season included bold, virtuosic programs with renowned presenters across North America. Returning to the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival for a week-long residency, the quartet offered audiences five inspired concerts with works by Beethoven, Bruch, Dvorák, Puccini, and Verdi. The ensemble appeared at the Chamber Music Pittsburgh Series and South Mountain Concerts with flutist Tara Helen O’Connor, with further highlights including performances at the Philadelphia, Phoenix, and San Antonio Chamber Music societies. The quartet also returned to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with a virtuosic all-Haydn program in November 2017, and a fascinating contemporary music program in January 2018 that included the world premiere of a CMS-commissioned work by Sebastian Currier, and Quartet No. 2 for Strings and Soprano “And once I played Ophelia” by Brett Dean with soprano Tony Arnold, also performed at Washington DC’s Library of Congress last season.
In the previous season, the Orion Quartet’s performances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center included programs of Haydn and Bach, and of Puccini and Hugo Wolf, also presented in Athens, Georgia. The quartet appeared with New School Concerts, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and the Chamber Music Society of Westchester, concluding the season with its annual return to the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, where the ensemble has earned a reputation as a champion of lesser-known works by famed composers.
Heard often 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 Drew Barrymore by Annie Leibovitz for the April 2005 issue of Vogue. Formed 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.