“The music was linked together by spoken dialogue and description of the composers and some of the events of their lives. They were very together in this effort (which is a novel feature of a recital like this) and the male and female voices complimented each other nicely, and made an appealing sound.

Successful advocates of the music……….a high degree of unanimity and timing. We all know that the viola is somewhere between the violins and cellos in the orchestra, but the educated performance by Ruth Bebb hammered home the smoky individuality of the instrument.”

(Sean Crudden – Independent Media Centre Ireland

Ruth Bebb plays violin and viola. Violin was her main instrument at college, but she took up viola in order to play in a chamber music group, and loved the sound. When she joined the Ulster Orchestra, it was as a viola player, and she was Principal no 2 in the orchestra for many years. She now freelances, playing regularly with National Symphony Orchestra and RTE Concert Orchestra in Dublin.

She played first violin in Orion String Quartet, made up of players from the Ulster Orchestra,which had a long and successful run playing recitals all over Northern Ireland, and recording for BBCNI, as well as playing in Queen’s Festival and taking part in educational workshops for the Ulster Orchestra.

Ruth and Chris began playing as Orion Duo about 20 years ago, and both loved the repertoire immediately. They have played all over Northern Ireland for music societies, and during all of their time as a Duo have promoted their own series at Malone House every spring. Ruth is interested in unusual instruments, such as this ravanhattha, an Indian stringed instrument.

Chris Blake played first horn in the Ulster Orchestra for 30 years, during which time Ruth and Chris formed Orion Duo. Since leaving the Ulster Orchestra Chris has been in demand as an accompanist for the Ulster Orchestra, and at Queen’s University. He works regularly as a pianist with Peter Corry. He likes to accompany young musicians, playing for Holywood and Ballymena Festivals, and working with young musicians for higher level exams and diplomas.

In 2019, Chris began a recital series “Music in our Home” which introduced audiences to piano classics. This moved online at the start of the pandemic, when he continued by recording a weekly 5-minute piece, distributed on WhatsApp. This was intended as a short-term lockdown project but has continued, and has resulted in over 100 recordings covering a wide range of piano repertoire.

Chris was a co-founder of RiChmusicNI, a ground-breaking Special Needs music service provider. He continues with this project to support the provision of musical opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.