A Houston punk rock legend front and center at a classical concert, a virtuoso concertmaster, a stellar bass-baritone singing nursery rhymes and tombstone epitaphs, and three world premieres. Throw in a couple of Dvořák’s Legends and the rarely heard Wood Notes by William Grant Still, and we have a strange brew of a program that surprised and engaged.
Like a ringmaster leads a circus, conductors direct classical music concerts, presenting various acts or compositions while serving as an intermediary between the audience and the performers.
But the show must go on, with or without, and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra is here to prove it’s possible to have a concert without a conductor, with the return of its annual conductorless concert this weekend at the Church of St. John the Divine.
Chicago-based composer Dan Visconti laughs at the idea that some might think that, because of his training and profession, he only listens to classical music. You know, when he’s not locked away in some ivory tower decked out in a white wig, quill pen scribbling away with frenzied genius.
The numbers are in: 76 world premieres (33 for the full chamber orchestra and 43 for its flexible chamber ensembles), 36 composers commissioned—these are astounding numbers from the Houston-based River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO), now in its perpetually forward-looking 13th season.
Catch this one while you can, because chances are, a show like this doesn’t come around too often. On February 10 at The Church of St. John the Divine, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) premieres Legendary Love, taking its title from a groundbreaking, genre-crossing world-premiere commission by Dan Visconti, which honors local Houston punk rock legend Christian Kidd, lead singer of The Hates…the band that’s gone unsigned by a major label since 1978, but wildly popular nonetheless.