Orion String Quartet

Ensemble

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 the diverse nature of programming that juxtaposes masterworks of quartet literature with key works of the 20th and 21st centuries, the Orion provides 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 equally, violist Steven Tenenbom, and cellist Timothy Eddy—have worked closely with illustrious musicians such as Pablo Casals, Sir András Schiff, Rudolf Serkin, Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Peter Serkin, members of the ensemble Tashi, and the Beaux Arts Trio, as well as the Budapest, Végh, Galimir, and Guarneri String Quartets. The Orion String Quartet is a season artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

In the summer of 2021, the Orion String Quartet returned to live performing at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, with which it has enjoyed a long association, to perform three programs that included music by Dvorák, Haydn, and Bartók. The Quartet’s concerts this season also include appearances with the Phoenix Chamber Music Society, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and with Linton Chamber Music in Cincinnati, where its concert includes Reger’s Clarinet Quintet with Anthony McGill and music by Beethoven.   During the quartet’s 30th anniversary season in 2017-18, the Orion 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 them, 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. As a hallmark of its 25th anniversary, the Orion collaborated with the Bill T. Jones/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 among members of the Orion Quartet and choreographer Bill T. 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

The Orion String Quartet was established in 1987 and 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.