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.
The 15th season from the innovative Houston-based professional music ensemble features a record-breaking 21 world premiere commissions, and an introspective series of concerts in which the musicians tell their coming of age stories through music.
From orchestras, to bands, to choirs, plus soloists of almost every instrument – the music of composer Jim Stephenson has been performed by musicians of all ages, across America and the world. We are thrilled to welcome him to Houston for the world premiere of his newest work celebrating the fun hobby of model railroading – ROCOmotive!
“I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could,” says Brett Mitchell, quoting a favorite bumper sticker of his. “That’s kind of like me. Any excuse to come back to Texas is great.” On Saturday, Mitchell will return to Houston to make his debut with… the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in “Ticket to Ride” at the Church of St. John the Divine.
In this installment of ROCOInsider, Audience Engagement Coordinator, Rachel Smith, sat down with ROCO’s program note writer, Mark Buller, to chat about what goes into the making of a program note.
In this ROCOInsider, learn how co-principal violist Suzanne LeFevre crafted the program of ROCO Unchambered: Terzetto, hear why the viola is like a secret sauce, and discover why this performance is truly “music among friends!”
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.