The Orion String Quartet is one of the leading chamber music ensembles on the classical music scene today. Admired for the diverse nature of their programming, which juxtaposes masterworks of quartet literature with key works of the 20th and 21st centuries, the Orion provides singularly rich dimension to its music-making. The members of the quartet—violinists Daniel Phillips and Todd Phillips (brothers who share the first-violin chair equally), violist Steven Tenenbom, and cellist Timothy Eddy—have worked closely with illustrious musicians, such as Pablo Casals, Sir András Schiff, Rudolf Serkin, Peter Serkin, Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, members of TASHI and the Beaux Arts Trio, and the Budapest, Végh, Galimir, and Guarneri string quartets. The quartet also serves as artist members of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
In the summer of 2019, the Orion String Quartet returned to the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, with which they’ve enjoyed a long association, to perform three programs that included music by Schubert, Mozart, and Kreisler. During the 2019–20 season, they appeared with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in a program of works by Haydn and Mozart. They also appeared with Chamber Music Pittsburgh, playing Sebastian Currier’s Études and Lullabies, which they premiered in 2018, and music by Haydn, Kreisler and Beethoven; with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, they performed Dvořák’s String Sextet in A Major, Op. 48, with violist Kim Kashkashian and cellist Marcy Rosen.
The 2017–18 season marked the Orion String Quartet’s 30th anniversary, which the group celebrated with performances at principal chamber music series throughout North America. They played the complete Beethoven String Quartets over the course of six concerts at the Mannes School of Music, where they held the position of quartet-in-residence for 27 years. For The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, they appeared on an all-Haydn program and presented a contemporary-music concert featuring works written for the group. The concert included the world premiere of Mr. Currier’s Études and Lullabies, which was commission by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; David Dzubay’s String Quartet No. 1, Astral; and Brett Dean’s String Quartet No. 2 for Strings and Soprano, And Once I Played Ophelia, which featured new-music specialist Tony Arnold as soloist.
The Orion String Quartet has given stimulus to the development and expansion of the string quartet repertoire through commissions from composers Chick Corea, David Del Tredici, Alexander Goehr, John Harbison, Leon Kirchner, Thierry Lancino, Lowell Liebermann, Peter Lieberson, Wynton Marsalis, and Marc Neikrug. As a hallmark of their 25th anniversary, the Orion collaborated with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in a two-week project that featured music by Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Ravel, and Beethoven. WQXR’s The Greene Space produced a live broadcast of the collaboration, including the performance and a discussion among members of the quartet and choreographer Bill T. Jones.
Heard frequently on National Public Radio’s Performance Today, the Orion String Quartet has also appeared on PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center, A&E’s Breakfast with the Arts, and ABC’s Good Morning America. The quartet was established in 1987 and took its name from the Orion constellation as a metaphor for the personality each musician brings to the group in its collective pursuit of the highest musical ideals.