Mission and History
Orchestra 2001 (O2001) is a collective of adventurous, virtuoso performers dedicated to the music of our time. The ensemble strives to be an international leader in connecting diverse audiences with the greatest music of the 20th and 21st centuries, engaging new listeners through exhilarating concerts, innovative artistic collaborations, and enriching community partnerships in Philadelphia and beyond.
Its name pointed to the future when the ensemble was founded by James Freeman in 1988. Today the name, by now indelibly associated with landmark performances and recordings of new music, points in a new way to the future of the music of our time.
Orchestra 2001 appointed Artistic Director Jayce Ogren in July 2016, following a two-year search with candidates from all across the US and six continents. Mr. Ogren began his tenure in Fall 2016.
In addition to concerts in the Philadelphia area, the ensemble has brought new American music to countless new audiences through tours abroad and through our recordings for CRI, Bridge, Albany, Innova, and Centaur.
The orchestra has had great influence on the lives of composers, young and old, in particular, in the relationship it has with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Crumb. All of Mr. Crumb’s “American Songbooks” – his unique settings of American folksongs – were all written for, premiered by, and recorded by James Freeman and O2001. The “Songbooks," receiving a 2015 Grammy Award nomination.
Orchestra 2001 has performed in Denmark, England, and Slovenia, on five trips to Russia including the Soundwaves Festival, the Salzburg Festival in Austria, the Havana Festival of Contemporary Music in Cuba, on an Arabian Gulf tour to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Qatar, and in two tours to China at the Beijing Modern Music Festival, Shanghai Spring International Music Festival, Hong Kong Performing Arts Academy and Hong Kong University, Tianjin Grand Theater and Nanning ASEAN Music Days. O2001 has also performed at Carnegie’s Zankel Theater and Miller Theater in New York, the Library of Congress, and at the Kimmel Center. O2001 has presented US regional tours to audiences in rural Appalachia and the southwest's Navajo Nation, supported by NEA touring grants.
O2001’s dedication to the performance of American contemporary music speaks for itself: 85 world premieres, over 100 Philadelphia premieres, over 200 works by 135 American composers, of which more than 140 works were by 80 Philadelphia-area composers.