Kathryne Pirtle is Clarinetist of the Orion Ensemble, founded in 1992, for which she is also Executive Director. The ensemble has three series in Metropolitan Chicago; tours throughout North America; a chamber music camp called OPUS; a school partnership program, mentoring high school chamber groups in selected schools and the Chicago Youth Symphony; and gives live broadcasts on WFMT, 98.7 FM.
In a Gramophone review, Donald Rosenberg states,“Clarinetist Kathryne Pirtle plays with seamless elegance, telling nuances and spacious tonal resources.” Lawrence Johnson wrote, “Kathryne Pirtle’s fluent and communicative clarinet playing was first-class throughout. Her refined and aria-like phrasing in the lovely, long-breathed slow movement proved a highlight, with the glowing coda beautifully rendered,” in the Chicago Classical Review.
Ms. Pirtle is a Backun artist and has served as principal clarinetist of the Lake Forest Symphony since 1990. Her other orchestral affiliations include the Lyric Opera Orchestra, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony and Elgin Symphony.
In 2004 Hal Leonard Corporation released her solo album of selected Bach unaccompanied cello and violin suites and sonatas transcribed for the clarinet by Himie Voxman, the first recording of these transcriptions.
Ms. Pirtle has also co-authored a book on nutrition utilizing traditional foods, Performance without Pain (2006), published by New Trends and an e-book, Acid Reflux—A National Epidemic and Precursor to Chronic Illness—Achieving Lasting Healing with Traditional Foods (2009). Since 2004, she has given over 100 workshops in the US and internationally, and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows. In 2012 she was a speaker at the Wise Traditions Conference in London, England. She has been published in the International Musician, International Clarinet, The Autism File Global, Advance Magazine (a publication for Physical Therapy) and Wise Traditions and writes a blog on her website www.performancewithoutpain.com about issues relating to building health with nutrient-dense foods.
Kathryne has taught privately since 1980. She gives master classes on clarinet pedagogy and chamber music literature, as well as non-profit chamber music organizational development. She has served on the faculties of Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, Northern Illinois University, Bradley University, Indiana University and New Trier High School. She currently teaches and coaches chamber music from her home studio and at Hinsdale South High School.
Ms. Pirtle has studied with Jerome Stowell, Lorin Levee and Larry Combs and trained with the Chicago Civic Orchestra.