Chamber Orchestra of New York, the city’s most dynamic young professional’s orchestra, was founded in honor of Ottorino Respighi – the preeminent early twentieth century Italian composer whose compositions bridge the classical and modern traditions. In this spirit, our programming presents great works of the 20th and 21st centuries, including film scores and rarely performed gems, alongside ancient music. The orchestra also serves as the premier ensemble in the United States devoted to the Italian repertoire.
Established in 2006, the Chamber Orchestra is the first auditioned young professional orchestra in the history of New York. Its triumphant debut was held on October 11, 2007 at Zankel Hall/Carnegie Hall. Following the Inaugural Season 2007/08 finale concert, Vivien Schweitzer of The New York Times wrote: “The musicians played…producing a polished, rich sound…a stirring performance [of Mahler’s Adagietto and]…a voluptuous rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir….” The ensemble has served as orchestra-in-residence of “Music Under the Dome” series at the Church of St. Jean Baptiste, and also performed at the Italian Cultural Institute of New York, Big Screen Plaza/Eventi Hotel, Caspary Auditorium/The Rockefeller University, Merkin Concert Hall/Kaufman Center, Pace Gallery, Adelphi Performing Arts Center, and Gilder Lehrman Hall at The Morgan Library & Museum.
Over the next seasons, the orchestra’s Board developed to include many esteemed artists as well, such as violist Evan Wilson (Former Principal Viola, Los Angeles Philharmonic), film composer Ennio Morricone, conductors Alan Gilbert (Music Director, New York Philharmonic) and Andrew Litton (Music Director, Bergen Philharmonic-Norway) as well as soloists Lynn Harrell, Cho-Liang Lin, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Alicia Zizzo. Honorary Board members include Respighi family descendents Elsa and Gloria Pizzoli, Respighi archive curator/cataloguer Potito Pedarra and musicologist Luigi Verdi. It now boasts an elite ensemble of gifted musicians, including first concertmaster Kelly Hall-Tompkins (New Jersey Symphony) and second concertmaster Daniel Khalikov (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra).
During the Second Season 2008/09, Ottorino Respighi’s great nieces Elsa and Gloria Pizzoli and archive curator/cataloger Potito Pedarra entrusted Music Director Salvatore Di Vittorio with the task of editing, orchestrating and completing several early orchestral works of Respighi for publication, in their first printed editions under the Ottorino Respighi Publications Series of Edizioni Panastudio in Italy. As part of the commission, Di Vittorio was invited to complete Respighi’s rediscovered first Violin Concerto (in A Major). The orchestra then premiered Respighi’s Violin Concerto, Aria and Suite for strings with Di Vittorio’s homage Overture Respighiana during the Third Season 2009/10.
In 2010, the Chamber Orchestra established The Respighi Prize Music Competition in collaboration with the City of Bologna (Respighi’s birthplace), and also received the prestigious Google Grant for online marketing. In 2011, the orchestra had another breakthrough with the release of its debut CDs on Naxos Records (Respighi, 8.572332 and Di Vittorio, 8.572333). The Naxos recordings were immediately successful on the international level, listed for several weeks on Gramophone Top 20 Classical Chart in London, honored as WQXR Classical Radio NY “Album of the Week” and “Album of the Month” in Italy (for June and July 2011). The music has also aired on RAI, BBC radio, and dozens of stations in the U.S. and abroad. Over thirty positive reviews have been written in praise of the orchestra’s recordings.
As part of its Fourth Season 2011/12, the Chamber Orchestra championed performances of four newly printed critical editions of music by not only Respighi, but Alessandro Scarlatti and the restoration of Claudio Monteverdi’s Lamento di Arianna (Ariadne’s Lament) for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. The orchestra’s Fifth Season 2012/13 was highlighted by the recording of its third Naxos CD, including Respighi’s The Birds, Trittico Botticelliano, Serenata and Suite in G for organ. Its Sixth Season 2013/14 marked the orchestra’s championing of the early music of Vaughan Williams, which the ensemble extended into its Seventh Season 2014/15 with an all Vaughan Williams program in its debut at the Adelphi Performing Arts Center in Long Island, NY – also the home of its Naxos recordings.
In November of 2016, the orchestra’s fourth Naxos album will be released featuring the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams. The CD serves as a culmination of the orchestra’s championing the early works of Vaughan Williams, by invitation of the Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust and publisher Oxford University Press in London.