Florentina Ramniceanu, Violin
Florentina Ramniceanu is violinist of The Orion Ensemble, which she founded with clarinetist Kathryne Pirtle and pianist Diana Schmück. A native of Romania, Ramniceanu graduated with honors from the Bucharest Conservatory of Music. She won the prestigious Romanian National Music Prize for four consecutive years. She has appeared in solo and chamber recitals and has concertized extensively throughout Europe and the United States. She has performed as first violinist with the Consortium String Quartet, and has played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera Orchestra, as well as performing as principal violinist with the Ravinia Festival Orchestra and the Chicago Philharmonic.

(Read full bio here .)
What brought you to the U.S. originally?
I came to the U.S. for family reunification reasons, as well as for my career. I was living and performing in Rome, Italy before I moved to Chicago. It was January; Rome was sunny and in the 60s, and here it was one of the worst Chicago winters—30 below zero! I still remember my shock.
What do you enjoy about playing chamber music?
For me there is nothing better than chamber music—the subtleties of interpretations, the intimacy and sophistication of the musical conversations, all within a small group that becomes family—simply wonderful! 
What are you most excited about in the Concert 2 program?
Probably the Arensky quartet, it’s so beautiful and romantic, and with two cellos! Also the Spanish style in the Cassadó, with its exhilarating rhythms and melodies. I love it all!
What has it been like preparing to perform with guest cellist Ian Maksin?
So much fun. We had never played together before, but it felt like we had already played a lifetime. Russian blood with Russian music brings out the passion in us all. Wonderful rehearsals and conversations over coffee.
As a founding member of Orion, how do you feel about reaching your 26th season?
I can’t believe it has been 26! Time really flies when you’re having fun. I feel so lucky and truly blessed to have such incredible colleagues and audiences that have followed us.
What else is coming up that you’re looking forward to?
I have been rehearsing to perform with the Miami Ballet and Chicago Philharmonic at the Harris Theater, then Thanksgiving comes and we start Nutcracker with The Joffrey Ballet at the Auditorium Theatre. I’ll be on stage performing a trio scene.

Photo by Devon Cass
See Orion's November Concerts!
Russian Passion

Upcoming Concerts—
Nov. 14 - 7:30 pm (PianoForte Studios, Chicago)
Nov. 18 - 7:30 pm (Nichols Concert Hall, Evanston)

$26 adults | $23 seniors | $10 students

“Innovative programming. Unique repertoire.
Thoughtful performances that get to the music’s soul.”
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26 Years – The Journey Continues – 2018-19
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.