Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Unifying Cultures through Music

The great 19th century poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, said “Music is the universal language of all mankind.” Never has this been more apparent than in the musical programming and creative collaborations found in River Oaks Chamber Orchestra’s fifth season.

ROCO invites the audience into a musical conversation that transcends cultures and generations. This season, every concert includes music by an acclaimed composer whose work showcases the culture of his or her country of origin.

  • In February, 2010, ROCO will complement its traditional classical music programming – which includes Beethoven’s dynamic Fifth Symphony and acclaimed piano soloist, Simone Dinnerstein with a piece by Chinese composer, Chen Yi in celebration of the Chinese New Year.
  • Also in February, ROCO is partnering with the Houston Chopin Society to present a concert at Rice University’s Stude Hall, featuring conductor Tomasz Golka, and piano soloist, Adam Golka. This collaboration will showcase the beautiful music of Chopin and highlight Houston’s large and vibrant Polish community.
  • In April, ROCO is teaming with The Children’s Museum to present a bilingual performance of the children’s classic, Peter and the Wolf. A small ensemble of ROCO musicians will play Prokofiev’s composition while well-known voice actor, John Swasey, narrates the story,first in English, and a second time in Spanish. This performance will be part of the bicentennial celebration of Mexico’s independence, along with the Musical Ofrenda that ROCO does in partnership with Lawndale Art Center in October as part of the annual Dia de los Muertos celebration. 
ROCO invites you join us in celebrating the richness of Houston’s many cultures. Music truly is the universal language, and the conversation has only just begun!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

User-Friendly Classical Music

Read Nancy Wozny's entertaining article about being a classical music newbie:

Oh, and she has wonderful things to say about ROCO!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kana Kimura in solo concert, Nov 22

ROCO violinist, Kana Kimura, will present a solo concert on Sunday afternoon, November 22, at 2:15pm, at The Recital Room at Dowling Music, 2615 Southwest Freeway at Kirby Drive.

A native of Tokyo, Japan, Kana Kimura, moved with her family to Edmonton, Alberta and began her musical studies at the age of four. She completed her undergraduate work at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music under Roland and Almita Vamos and continued her violin studies at the University of Houston under the guidance of Fredell Lack. She has participated in such prestigious music festivals as the Pacific Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, and the Spoleto Festival. In addition to playing with River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Kana maintains a private studio of over twenty young students.

This recital is just one in a series this season. Dowling Music and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra have teamed up to feature ROCO musicians in monthly solo concerts at the beautiful new 100-seat Recital Room inside Dowling Music, at 2615 Southwest Freeway at Kirby Drive (2nd floor). All performances are on Sunday afternoons, at 2:15. Admission is free, and families are welcome.
View the full schedule here:
Read more about Kana here:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

ROCO Wine and Music Tasting, November 10th

Great music, fine wine and good company – that’s “ROCO company,” or ROCOco. ROCO hosts several “music tastings” each season. These popular events are held in wine cellars or tasting rooms, feature individual ROCO soloists, and pair music with wine or beer and food in a lively, intimate setting.

On November 10th, we’ll feature principal cellist, Richard Belcher, along with French Burgundy wines.  New Zealand cellist Richard Belcher has performed across the USA and internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. Richard moved to Houston in 2004 and became ROCO principal cellist at the beginning of the chamber orchestra’s 2009-2010 season.

Tickets are $40 per person. Seating is limited, so reservations are recommended!

ROCOco “Cello and French Burgundy Wines” Music Tasting
  • Tue, Nov 10, 5:30pm – 7:30 pm
    at The Tasting Room at Uptown Park
    1101-18 Uptown Park Blvd
    Houston, TX 77056
This event is generously sponsored by The Tasting Room.

ROCO on KUHF The Front Row

Conductor Joel Smirnoff, ROCO Concertmaster Brian Lewis, and Executive Director and Founder Alecia Lawyer joined KUHF's St. John Flynn in the Geary Performance Studio for a preview session of the 5th Season Opener on October 9, 2009.

Click here to listen to the interview

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Musical & Literary Ofrenda, October 27th

Join us for a joyful evening of celebration and remembrance, Tuesday, October 27th, 6:00-7:30, at the Lawndale Art Center, at 4912 Main Street, 77002.  This program is a partership among ROCO, Musiqa, Inprint, Lawndale Art Center, and The Mexican Consulate. 

During Día de los Muertos, families create ofrendas or altars to remember and honor the memory of their ancestors. During this evening of remembrance, ROCO and Musiqa will present short original contemporary, classic compositions as musical ofrendas. Composers whose work will be featured at the Ofrenda include Todd Frazier, Meghan Hendley, Nicolai Jacobsen, M. Marone, Chris Peters, and Andrew Schneider.

Between musical pieces, writers from Inprint will present original readings written in the tradition of making an offering during the Día de los Muertos celebrations. Writers participating in the Ofrenda include Laurie Cedilnik, Ryler Dustin, Kristine Ervin, and Mike Jones. 

This performance, along with other Día de los Muertos programs and exhibitions at Lawndale Art Center, promotes cultural awareness of Mexican folk art practices associated with this celebration of family, life and community.

Admission is free, and families are welcome.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

New Bassoon Method Instruction from ROCO Bassoonist, Kristin Wolfe Jensen

We're excited about the launch of ROCO principal bassoon, Kristin Wolfe Jensen's online bassoon method book, Music and the Bassoon. It provides free instruction and is enhanced with audio and video clips so students may have unlimited access to aural and visual models. Kristin designed it for students who might not have access to a bassoon teacher on a regular basis, for university music education methods classes, and bassoonists of all ages world-wide. She believes it to be the first free online method book for any instrument that is anywhere near this extensive.

The Music and the Bassoon online instruction contains:

  • Over 360 pdf examples of sheet music that Kristin composed and arranged in pedagogical sequence for beginning through advanced bassoonists, organized into 50 progressive units.
  • Over one hundred sound clips of Kristin performing the musical examples, providing aural modeling for the students. 50 of the sound clips are duets where students can harmonize with one part.
  • Over thirty video demonstrations of bassoon techniques and lessons with young students.

Find it at http://www.musicandthebassoon.org/

Oct 10 Concert Features Conductor Joel Smirnoff, Violin Soloist Brian Lewis, and Iranian Composer Behzad Ranjbaran

ROCO opens its 2009-2010 season by welcoming back guest conductor Joel Smirnoff, who will conduct Haydn’s Miracle Symphony No. 96 and Ginastera Variaciones. Maestro Smirnoff is a conductor, pedagogue, and former first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet. He is currently president of the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a longtime friend of ROCO.

Also on the program are Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in e Minor, featuring ROCO soloist and concertmaster, Brian Lewis. Mr. Lewis is an acclaimed soloist and professor of violin at the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas in Austin. Regarded as “one of the most versatile and charismatic violinists on the current scene,” Brian is an exceptionally dedicated and gifted performer whose artistry has been heard and embraced around the world.

The program also includes Awakening for String Orchestra, by Iranian composer Behzad Ranjbaran. Dr. Ranjbaran’s music has been performed in recent seasons by Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell and Yo-Yo Ma, among others. He will be at the concert to discuss his work and introduce the piece. Dr. Ranjbaran began his musical education early when he entered the Tehran Music Conservatory at the age of nine. He came to the United States in 1974, where he attended Indiana University and then received his doctorate in composition from The Juilliard School. He is currently on the faculty of The Juilliard School, and has been named a “Distinguished Artist” by the New Jersey Council on the Arts.

Immediately following the evening concert, there will be a reception featuring the work of Iranian artist, Soody Sharifi.

You can preview the concert program here:

ROCO Season Opener Concert
Saturday, October 10, 2009
5 pm, at The Church of St. John the Divine
2450 River Oaks Blvd. at Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77019
Tickets are $25 general admission / $10 students
Purchase tickets at http://www.rocohouston.org/tickets.html or by calling 713-665-2700

Thursday, September 10, 2009

ROCO and St. Arnold present "Beer and Brass"

September 29, 5:30-7:30, at St. Arnold Brewery

We're kicking off the 2009-2010 season with “Beer and Brass,” sponsored by St. Arnold and Stone Kitchen Catering, and featuring ROCO principal hornist, Danielle Kuhlmann. Join us for a lively evening of great beer, fine food, and delicious music.

Danielle is an eclectic artist who has performed in symphony orchestras and chamber music concerts throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. A Juilliard-trained musician, Danielle sings with Brooklyn-based alternative-country band Tatters and Rags, is an avid humanitarian, and a jewelry artist.

Tickets are $80 per person, and each paid attendee is invited to BRING A FRIEND FREE!

Read more about Danielle: http://www.rocohouston.org/mus_dkuhlmann.html
Purchase Beer and Brass tickets: http://www.rocohouston.org/tickets.html
For the full ROCOco season schedule, and to purchase tickets: http://www.rocohouston.org/ROCOco.html

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dowling Music Presents ROCO in The Recital Room

Acclaimed violinist, Brian Lewis, will appear in solo recital on Sunday afternoon, September 27th, 2:15pm, at The Recital Room at Dowling Music, 2615 Southwest Freeway at Kirby Drive. Called “one of the most versatile and charismatic violinists on the current scene,” Brian is concertmaster of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO), professor of violin at The University of Texas Butler School of Music, and a respected soloist who has performed all over the world.

This recital is the first in a series. Dowling Music and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra have teamed up to feature ROCO musicians in solo recitals at the beautiful new 100-seat Recital Room adjacent to Dowling Music, at 2615 Southwest Freeway at Kirby Drive. All performances are on Sunday afternoons, at 2:15. Admission is free, and families are welcome.

The full schedule is available at http://rocohouston.org/recital.html.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

ROCO Season Finale Concert, April 18, 2009

The first movement of Carter Pann's "Mercury Concerto" conducted by Alastair Willis, featuring flute soloist, Christina Jennings.

View more ROCO concert videos here