by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra violinist Joanna Jenner

Schubert has always played an important role in Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s performances. In the beginning of our career, we felt very daring to attempt Schubert’s Fifth Symphony; it was one of the first symphonies our fledgling group took on tour. We cut our teeth on it! We grew so much by rehearsing and performing it. Even before that we played a little-known Schubert work, a very youthful Overture in C minor, originally for string quintet. We’ve always been taking works for the chamber repertoire and “enlarging” them. I remember we were at first called the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, tipping our hats to our chamber music background.

Next season we are performing Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” Quartet (arranged for string orchestra by Mahler), and it seems like a natural outgrowth of all the Schubert symphonies we have performed. I think we will be drawn to discussing the way he crafted the theme of the quartet’s second movement from his own piano introduction and vocal part in the song “Death and the Maiden”—making that transition from Schubert’s song universe to a purely instrumental movement is very illuminating.

I am thrilled to be playing the Eighth Symphony. It speaks so personally to me, I feel possessive of it. The symphony seems to have a text or story behind the changes from sunny melodies to stormy drama, and yet it’s a perfect example of Schubert’s own version of sonata-allegro form. It’s hard to believe an entire audience is having the same intimate connection as me. That is Schubert’s genius!

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will perform The Courage to Create, a program of works by Prokofiev and Schubert, including Schubert’s Eighth Symphony, on Friday, March 23 at 8pm. Ticktets are still available; click here or call 914-251-6200.