Orion String Quartet


Orion String Quartet Photo credit: Andreas Hafenscher

The Orion Quartet is one of the leading chamber music ensembles on the classical music scene today. Admired for their diverse programming that juxtaposes masterworks of the quartet literature with key works of the 20th and 21st centuries, the Orion provides a singularly rich dimension to its music-making. The members of the Orion String Quartet—violinists Daniel Phillips and Todd Phillips (brothers who share the first violin chair), violist Steven Tenenbom, and cellist Timothy Eddy—have worked closely with such illustrious musicians as Pablo Casals, Sir András Schiff, Rudolf Serkin, Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Peter Serkin, members of the ensemble TASHI, the Beaux Arts Trio, and the Budapest, Végh, Galimir, and Guarneri String Quartets. The Orion String Quartet are season artists of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

In the summer of 2019, the Orion String Quartet returned to the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival to perform three programs that included music by Schubert, Mozart, and Kreisler. This season, the quartet appears with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for two programs in Alice Tully Hall. The quartet also performs with Chamber Music Pittsburgh, at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of Met Live Arts’ celebration of the Guarneri Quartet.

During the quartet’s 30th anniversary season in 2017-18, the group celebrated at principal chamber music series throughout North America. They played the complete string quartets of Beethoven in a series of six concerts at the Mannes School of Music, where they held the position of quartet-in-residence for 27 years. At CMS they performed an all-Haydn program and presented a contemporary music concert of works written for the group, including the world premiere of Sebastian Currier’s Etudes and Lullabies (a commission by CMS), David Dzubay’s String Quartet No. 1, “Astral,” and Brett Dean’s Quartet No. 2 for Strings and Soprano, “And once I played Ophelia.” Tony Arnold joined the Orion in that concert as vocal soloist.

The Orion String Quartet has given stimulus to the development and expansion of the string quartet repertoire through commissions from composers Chick Corea, David Del Tredici, Alexander Goehr, Thierry Lancino, John Harbison, Leon Kirchner, Marc Neikrug, Lowell Liebermann, Peter Lieberson, and Wynton Marsalis. For its 25th anniversary, the Orion collaborated with choreographer Bill T. Jones and the Arnie Zane Dance Company in a two-week project that featured music by Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Ravel, and Beethoven. WQXR’s The Greene Space produced a live broadcast of the collaboration, including the performance and a discussion between members of the quartet and Mr. Jones. Heard frequently 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 on ABC television’s Good Morning America.

Formed in 1987, the quartet takes its name from the Orion constellation as a metaphor for the personality each musician brings to the group in its collective pursuit of the highest musical ideals.