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

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 or by calling 713-665-2700