Orpheus receives grant to reach next generation

New York’s Orpheus Chamber Orchestra has received a $400,000 grant from The Andrew W Mellon Foundation.

The three-year grant will enable the conductor-less ensemble to launch Next Generation Orpheus, a new initiative that aims to engage new musicians and potential members from different backgrounds.

The award will support Orpheus’ efforts to implement a three-pronged framework to promote diversity both on and off the stage. The first prong will establish an apprenticeship programme for a limited number of pre-professional musicians to be invited into the Orpheus Process, playing alongside the orchestra at specific rehearsals and attending artistic planning and administrative meetings.

The second prong will introduce a select number of newly professional musicians to Orpheus through rehearsals to familiarise them with the orchestra’s music-making process. The third prong will expand the existing personal and artistic qualifications for hiring within the primary substitute pool to include a consideration for diversity.

Orpheus will also allocate a portion of the grant to create paid part-time staff positions for emeritus members, including three two-year positions that will help foster the Orpheus Institute. Through the Orpheus Institute, the orchestra shares its distinctive collaborative model with university students of all disciplines, offering collaborative leadership training and empowering individual voices within broader team projects.

Orpheus opens its 2014-15 concert series at Carnegie Hall on 23 October with a programme that includes Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 3 in C Minor, featuring Jonathan Biss.