Houston, TX – There’s no question that Houston’s proponents of contemporary music are enthusiastically embracing creative marketing concepts and alternative venues for performances in an effort to expand and educate a new century of audiences. In an un-zoned city like Houston, I find that musicians and audiences will happily cross so-called genre and cultural boundaries especially if there’s promise of a good time (Texas barbecue can help too, but that’ll be another entry…). Much to my delight, I am seeing familiar faces when I’m out at performances of new music be it in a gallery in the Third Ward, a club in Montrose, or the Hobby Center’s Zilka Hall. Although I’ve only been living in Houston for short time, I feel a sense of connection to what is a pretty broad cross section of the city’s creative community.

Duo Scordatura violinist Nicholas Leh Baker

One of the familiar faces I see around town is Houston composer George Heathco, who hipped me to what will be an exciting concert of contemporary pieces for the violin and viola, including three (!) world premieres, performed by the duo of violinist Nicholas Leh Baker and violist Faith Magdalene Jones who call themselves Duo Scordatura. The concert takes place Saturday, January 29th at 6pm at First Presbyterian Church, located at 5300 Main Street. Tickets for concert are $10 for general audiences and $5 for students, children, and seniors.

The concert, titled COMMISSIONED, includes four works commissioned by Duo Scordatura, including works by Alexandra T. Bryant, Luke Dahn, George Heathco, and Dr. Daniel Kramlich. Part of the creative marketing for COMMISSIONED includes the Commissioned Project Interview Series featuring the duo and commissioned composers discussing the collaborative process that takes place between composers and the performing musicians.

Composer George Heathco

Heathco describes his programmed piece Turbine (2010) as “a bitch to play, but…a very entertaining work (or so I hope).” Also on the program are pieces by Jack Benson and Jodran Kuspa.

All of the composers on the bill either currently or have at one point called Houston their home and, according to Nicholas Leh Baker in his video interview, will all be present at the performance. Duo Scordatura is committed to presenting works “in a wide range of venues across the Houston landscape.” I look forward to hearing them next Saturday at First Presbyterian Church, and in the future wherever their mission takes them.

8 Responses to “Duo Scordatura Presents: COMMISSIONED”
  1. Chris Becker says:

    I’m listening now and the duo sounds AWESOME!!!

  2. Just wanted to let everyone know George Heathco and myself will be pre-recording for The front Row show on 88.7fm KUHF tomorrow at 9am, i believe it will air on Thursday, but might be Friday. Hope you all listen in….

  3. Steve Layton says:

    I’ve met Luke Dahn a couple times in Houston (he was back down visiting from the wilds of western Iowa), and have really enjoyed his work. It’s going to be a good concert.

  4. Chris Becker says:

    Thanks! Most of these pieces are brand new so of COURSE the titles are gonna change :)

  5. Hey Garrett & Chris,

    I think its a great idea to start posting up the titles of the works….I will try to get to it today. Some Composers have switched title names on a daily basis… composers and thier titles. :P

    Until then here they are:

    Kuspa – Beneath the Magma

    Heathco – Turbine

    Dahn – Sol Aflat ( solo violin)

    Benson – Fringe

    Kramlich – One Word ( violin, viola, & soprano)

    Bryant – All True Passion Is Born Out of Anguish

  6. Chris Becker says:

    Hey, Garrett. Beneath the Magma is the name of Jordan’s piece, which premiered in 2006 at Carnegie Hall and is the oldest piece on this program.

    However, I don’t see a program of titles up at Duo Scordatura’s website! That info may be in the various YouTube videos they’ve posted, but yeah, it’d be nice if the titles were up.

  7. Garrett Schumann says:

    This sounds like a great concert, now I have a reason other than the frigid cold of Ann Arbor to wish I were still in Houston instead on in Michigan.

    I knew Lexi Bryant and Jordan Kuspa when I was doing my undergrad at Rice, what pieces of theirs are being played?

    Just curious,

    Thanks,

    Garrett

  8. George Heathco says:

    Thanks Chris. We’re really looking forward to this concert. This is an awesome chance to hear music by a rather diverse bunch of Houston composers, played by two rather exceptional instrumentalists!

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