The program also includes Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Haydn's Scena di Berenice, both featuring soprano Barbara Bonney, and Mozart's Symphony No. 29.
Adams wrote his oft-performed 1992 Chamber Symphony, according to the composer, after the cartoons his son was watching on television intruded on his study of Schoenberg's First Chamber Symphony. "The hyperactive, insistently aggressive and acrobatic scores for the cartoons mixed in my head with the Schoenberg music, itself hyperactive, acrobatic, and not a little aggressive, and I realized suddenly how much these two traditions had in common," he wrote in a program note.
Founded in 1972, Orpheus is conductorless and self-governing: a rotating group of principals leads rehearsals, and decisions about interpretation are made by the group as a whole. Tonight's concert is the fourth of Orpheus's five events at Carnegie Hall this season; the group performs with violinist Joshua Bell on May 10.