How it all came together
Programming Houston's weekend of world premieres (with video)
How does one program art music concerts today?
Anthony Brandt’s concert premiere of his Nano Symphony pokes fun at an antiquated although still practiced methodology. He even includes a raucous intermission with a few mishaps, the anticipated (but somewhat ignored) arpeggiated major chord announcing the beginning of the second half — which incidentally reminded me of the mallet-happy school announcement Rydell High secretary gone rogue near the end of Grease — the obligatory southern standing ovation and hooky encore.
True. As Brandt points out, musically, the sometimes obligatory contemporary piece is usually programmed for the first half, encouraging people from leaving too early. So some make it a habit to arrive after intermission only for the featured masterwork.
Breaking through traditional programming practice, Opera Vista, Musiqa and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra all presented ambitious premieres this weekend that were actually a major attraction for classical music lovers.
The result? Sold-out concerts.
As Brandt explains, the secret to the fountain of youth is not in the physical but rather the mental. And exposure to novelties that challenge our cognitive abilities, like new music, is rather essential, safe, inexpensive and just plain fun.
I had a chance to chat with some key people of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, giving me a brief look into how to bring seemingly different works into a cohesive program as well as the importance of continuing to present, commission and advocate for new compositions. Check out the weekend in video: