Building on a long-standing and A world premiere by composer Jackson Berkey will opens the 23rd season of The Orion Ensemble this fall, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. "French and German Tapestries" will feature frequent collaborator and guest violist Stephen Boe on a program that also includes works by Mozart and Fauré.

Berkey has composed more than 400 titles encompassing choral, solo vocal and instrumental, chamber ensemble, band and orchestral works, as well as concerti and works for chorus and orchestra. Nationally known as a pianist and recording artist, he has performed as featured keyboardist with Mannheim Steamroller for nearly 40 years. Berkey's Homage to Percy Bysshe Shelley, for violin, viola, cello, piano and clarinet, is a brief, expressive musical poem written expressly for Orion.

Three works by Mozart also appear on this program. Divertimento in E-flat Major for String Trio, Fantasy in C Minor for Piano, K. 396 and  Trio (Kegelstatt) in E-flat Major for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, K. 498 whose nickname refers to Mozart's boast of having composed several works while playing skittles (a form of bowling—Kegelstatt refers to a place where people played skittles).

Gabriel Fauré's Quartet in C Minor for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano No. 1, Op. 15 is actually a string trio with piano, in which the strings can become a microcosmic orchestra against the coloristic shadings of solo piano. The piece closes the wide ranging program which will likely benefit from The Orion Ensemble’s trademark musical symbiosis.

Orion's 2015-­2016 season, Fantasies and Enchantments, continues with "Harp Fantasy" in November and December, featuring the Orion debut of guest harp virtuoso Ben along with works by Ibert, Saint-Saëns, Vaughan Williams, Ireland and Bridge; "American Landscape" in March, with music by Berkey, Sowash and Dvorák; and "Musical Enchantments" in May and June, with guest violinist Mathias Tacke and guest violist Stephen Boe performing works by Dvorák, Beach and Brahms.

For tickets or more information about Orion’s upcoming season-opener or their 2015-2016 season, call 630-628-9591 or visit

Members of The Orion Ensemble, winner of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, will present another world premiere work in their 2015-2016 season opener this fall (photo courtesy of The Orion Ensemble).

Orion Ensemble to Unveil World Premiere by Jackson Berkey in Season Opener