Interlochen Arts Academy Chosen as First American High School to Collaborate with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

What happens when the presidents of two world-renowned arts organizations sit down at a coffee shop on the Upper West Side of New York, where by chance the barista is an Interlochen alumnus?

On Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Corson Auditorium, you can observe the results for yourself, as Interlochen Arts Academy and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra come together to present a remarkable concert – one that’s been 18 months in the making.

In the fall of 2011, Interlochen president Jeffrey Kimpton and Orpheus president Ayden Adler began a conversation about “how can we work together.”

Orpheus, the world renowned chamber orchestra that performs without a conductor, used its unique brand of individual leadership and communication to create the Orpheus Institute, which takes the Orpheus rehearsal and performance model into other performing groups, non-profits, education and health care, and business.

Orpheus has been holding sessions on leadership and communication on the Interlochen campus since the winter of 2012, held a workshop for students in New York last spring as part of the 50th anniversary tour, and participated in last fall’s Symposium. But the genesis for the April 25 concert came when Orpheus musicians Ronny Bauch and Louis Hanslik joined Adler for a February 2012 visit to campus, their first.

After observing classes, rehearsals and performances in all the arts disciplines, they were struck by the intensity and abilities of Interlochen students and their natural collaborative spirit, and expressed an interest in doing something with students as part of their April 2013 tour performance at Interlochen. Meetings between Orpheus and Interlochen faculty and staff quickly created the concept for the program--a creative collaboration over several months bringing together Orpheus and Academy students, using Arnold Schoenberg’s great masterwork "Verklarte Nacht" as the foundation.

Student musicians were selected to learn the music and perform side-by-side with Orpheus. Academy dance faculty choreographed the Schoenberg work to be danced by members of the Interlochen Dance Ensemble. Visual art students designed the set, and worked with Interlochen costume designer Candace Hughes. Design and Production students designed the lighting. Creative Writing students wrote the poem that appears in the program. Students from Motion Picture Arts have documented the process for a later project, and worked closely with the visual artists on the projections guests will see at the performance. And Gabriel Kahane plans to spend the afternoon of April 25th working with students in the singer-songwriter program.

While Orpheus musicians have been on campus as coaches, technology has played an important role in the collaboration as well. Student musicians at Interlochen have been coached by Orpheus players who were watching from New York, utilizing new technology links. Dancers have rehearsed with Academy student musicians on campus while Orpheus played with them--linked from New York!

This is the first collaboration between the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and an American high school, and speaks to the continuing efforts to increase the visibility of Interlochen as a vital force in the world of the arts. Tickets for the April 25 performance can be purchased online