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ORION STORIES
Q&A with Kathryne Pirtle
Where did the idea for this concert, "Soul of the Tango," come from?
I had a lot of Eastern European and gypsy jazz clarinet tunes and thought we could do a concert based on soulful music like this, which gave birth to the name. Then our incredible pianist, Richard Johnson, gave me some really amazing tunes that we could do as well. The whole program is going to be based on music for the heart and soul.

Have you and your daughter performed together before?
We have done three all-Gershwin performances and, since the quarantine, we've done two Facebook Live concerts with Morgan's boyfriend Aaron, who is a fantastic guitarist. The all-Gershwin concert was a huge success, and I wanted to do another concert with her. What more powerful way to perform than with your own child? It’s one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

What influence do you think you had on Morgan growing up in terms of being a professional musician?
Well, she had the clarinet in her ear all the time because her bedroom was next to the room I practiced in! Not to mention I practiced the entire time I was pregnant with her. I think she came out into the world already singing. In addition, I always told her that she should do what she loves. When she got into high school, she was struggling with what she should focus on. She said, "Mom, I like math and science, but I'm not sure what to do in my life." I asked her what she really loved, and she said singing. So that is what she is doing. I couldn't be more happy for her. She has an amazing voice and is incredibly creative and dedicated to making things happen. She is already in high demand as a performing artist.

What do you enjoy about playing jazz?
I love the freedom it gives me to play with a huge variety of sounds, expressions and styles different from classical. Playing with jazz artists expands my creativity.

Anything else you would like to share about the upcoming concert?
Richard Johnson, our pianist, is an incredible artist and has performed with Wynton Marsalis. He also teaches at Peabody Conservatory and is a clarinetist. I hope that many people will either attend the concert or listen to the livestreamed event. You will be glad you heard this remarkable program!
Soul of the Tango
Sunday, August 30 @ 4 pm
Tunes from
Antonio Jobim (“Girl from Ipanema”)
João Gilberto, tango-master Astor Piazzolla and
Vittorio Monti (you’ll know his tune “Csárdás”)

Hey Nonny
10 S. Vail Ave., Arlington Heights, Ill.
$ 40 - Outdoor Table for Two (sold out)
$40 - Table for Two
$20 per extra person at table
(Socially distanced seating & Covid safety requirements in place)

Contributions are accepted here


ENSEMBLE MEMBER UPDATES
Florentina Ramniceanu (violin) has been enjoying her small city garden and drove to the mountains of Colorado with her husband and puppies for fresh air and inspiration. She taught a masterclass-performance via Zoom with Kathy and Diana for Opus' Chamber Music Virtual Camp and has been working on music for Orion's all-Beethoven program, which she looks forward to sharing with audiences in the fall.

Diana Schmück (piano) has expanded her home studio into a recording studio, where she records prelude and postlude, as well as other service music, for the Zoom services at Lake Street Church of Evanston. She says, "I’ve enjoyed finding and preparing 8-to-10-minute prelude pieces and 2-minute postlude pieces each week, on piano rather than organ! I’ve used everything from Robert Schumann to Scott Joplin to Peter Maxwell Davies to Bach and Mozart to William Grant Still. More recently, I've spent time in Urbana, at my sister's home. There I've taken long walks in the prairie, looked for frogs by kayak, played 4-hand piano music with my sister, and enjoyed my brother-in-law's vegan cooking."

Judy Stone (cello) enjoys playing music with her father, John, several times a week, ranging from standards to show tunes and more. Audience members may remember seeing John at past Orion concerts in Evanston or playing at some of the benefit events in the western suburbs.

Kathryne Pirtle (clarinet) has been preparing for her upcoming concert, "Soul of the Tango." She has been teaching students remotely, and is coaching the Clemens Woodwind Quintet (of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra) live—outside.
The Orion Ensemble is supported in part by grants from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund and the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and by generous donations from our dedicated patrons.