Visions Take Flight is one of those rarest of accomplishments: a contemporary music album that’s a sheer joy to listen to, from start to finish. Nordic Affect’s concept album manages to make and leave a strong emotional impact
STEVEN BROWN, APRIL 30, 2019 Photo: ROCO in Concert: Queen of Hearts, Nov. 2018; Mei-Ann Chen, conducting. Photo by Blueprint Film Co. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Houston’s River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) to anoint a conductor as its music director. Being player-driven is in ROCO’s DNA. But founder-oboist Alecia Lawyer wants to bring in…
A game player has three responsibilities: Gobble up the dots. Travel through the maze. Avoid the ghosts…Although the arcade game, released in 1980, wasn’t the inspiration for Chicago-based composer James Stephenson when creating “Chase Sequence,” it’s certainly a fitting analogy, particularly when Houston’s River Oaks Chamber Orchestra will perform the piece Saturday in a concert that closes its “Unchambered” series in a season titled “Games People Play.”
COMPOSER JAMES STEPHENSON wrote “Chase Sequence” for the United States Marine Band’s brass quintet about eight years ago. He had the idea that the piece would start out with an energetic start from a trumpet, with the other instruments following each other quickly through the music. River Oaks Chamber Orchestra’s brass quintet presents the piece to cap off its Unchambered series. With “Chase Sequence,” they’re highlighting a contemporary work, as well as classical jazz pieces.
LAST YEAR’S ROCO PERFORMANCE OF PETER AND THE WOLF was such a hit at the Houston Zoo, the show is coming back—this time with a twist.
“There are no more wolves at the Zoo,” explains ROCO’s founder and artistic director Alecia Lawyer, “but there is a new black bear exhibit.”
Imagine listening to Liszt in your living room. Whether it’s Mozart or Brahms or more contemporary offerings, house concerts have become so popular in Texas that you can find one happening most weekends throughout the state.
Recordings of new music rooted in tradition that still is uncompromisingly contemporary — and sometimes unsettling. Debates about new music have always focused mainly on styles that have caught listeners off guard.
There’s one reason in particular why Visions Take Flight, the double-CD debut release by ROCO, the Houston-based River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, nabbed the number nine slot in textura’s 2018 list of top classical releases…it’s because when ROCO selected works to include on the release, the musicians selected their favourite pieces from the group’s repertoire and the five chosen from the then fifty-eight available (the total now seventy-five) constitute an incredible sampling of material by living American composers.
Houston’s River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, unlike many larger ensembles, gives its musicians the opportunity to play chamber music.
Visions Take Flight is the remarkably assured debut album by the Houston-based River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO), released in November 2018 on Innova Recordings.
The weather outside is frightful, but inside Houston’s concert halls it’s quite delightful. ‘Tis the season for holiday music and our classical line-up caters to every taste.
Houston’s art scene has always been as exceptional as the ever-evolving city itself. And this year, girls rule. Here’s a look at some of the remarkable women who are painting our town beautiful.