The Orchestra of St. Luke's (= OSL), America's foremost and most versatile chamber orchestra, is acclaimed for its mastery of a diverse repertoire spanning the Baroque to the contemporary. First organized at the Caramoor International Music Festival in the summer of 1979, the Orchestra evolved from the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, which was established in 1974 with Ensemble members forming the Orchestra's artistic core as principal players. 2001-2002 marks the Orchestra's first season with Donald Runnicles as Principal Conductor. Sir Charles Mackerras recently stepped down as St. Luke's Music Director, succeeding Sir Roger Norrington, who had served as Music Director from 1990 to 1994.
Each season, Carnegie Hall presents the Orchestra of St. Luke's in a subscription series. The 2001-2002 line-up welcomes the two former music directors to the podium and celebrates the Carnegie Hall debut of Donald Runnicles. The season opens on December 2, 2001 with Sir Charles Mackerras leading the Orchestra and guest singers in a performance of Berlioz' L'enfance du Christ. Donald Runnicles debuts on February 7, 2002, conducting L.v. Beethoven's Fidelio Overture and Symphony No. 3 (Eroica), as well as the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 with guest soloist Lars Vogt. The final concert on April 18, 2002 features Sir Roger Norrington, leading the Orchestra in an all-Tchaikovsky program to include the Symphony No. 6 (Pathètique) and the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D with soloist Christian Tetzlaff.
In addition to the series, the Orchestra of St. Luke's is engaged throughout the year in artistic collaborations, special projects, and recordings. Season highlights include a recital with Josè Carreras at Carnegie Hall; a production of Cirque Orchestra at City Center presented by Lincoln Center; the Carnegie Hall Choral Workshop with Andrè Previn; and a concert version of Richard Rodgers' Carousel with Leonard Slatkin at Carnegie Hall. The Orchestra will perform and conduct residency activities at the University of Illinois' Krannert Center in Champaign-Urbana, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and at Bushnell Auditorium in Hartford, CT. Each summer the Orchestra returns to the Caramoor Festival for June and July.
Members of the Orchestra also participate in St. Luke's acclaimed Arts Education Program, integrating comprehensive in-school workshops with free opera and dance performances for over 20,000 New York City school children annually.
St. Luke's has recorded on the Sony, EMI, Nonesuch, BMG and Arabesque labels. Its discography of over 70 recordings includes two Grammy-award winning releases for Nonesuch: John Adams' Nixon in China and Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Dawn Upshaw.