Current Projects - Spring 2016

Zoe Miller: Live Music at the Children’s Museum of Houston
In partnership with the Children’s Museum of Houston and their recent creation of their Literacy Development department, I created an educational outreach concert for children with a focus on early musical education and literacy development. The program featured a live performance of Swimmy, music based on a favorite children’s story by Shepherd composer Karim Al-Zand. This performance included commentary, activities and instrument demos by the Shepherd School musicians.

Seulki Lee: Hope
Performances at the Houston Covenant House and Methodist Hospital

My project combined Bach with sound tracks from movies. Connecting this music soothes and calms my feeling, and guides me into different world. I want to give this amazing music to people who are in need. The language of music has a power to reach people and heal their hearts. Bach is the one of the best things I can play with personal emotion. I played a few of my favorite Disney sound tracks which I feel can lead us into joy and happiness. Life is worth living for any reason, and even the darkest moment there is always hope. My hope is that people will recall the happy memories, remember them, and smile.

Naomi Hoffmeyer: Harp Outreach

I am presenting three different programs of solos harp music to school audiences, retirement homes, and hospital waiting areas and outpatient clinics in the Greater Houston Area. Each program is designed around a different thematic element geared towards the different groups: Imagery and Sound Painting; Development of Harp Repertoire Through the 19th and Early 20th Centuries; and The Music of Harpist-Composers. In order to help the audience to better engage with the music, the programs include verbal introductions of each piece, and are tailored to the particular audience group. In addition to my desire to connect to the Houston community, this project is preparing me for the USA International Harp Competition in June 2016, as I am playing music from the competition’s repertoire requirements.

Natalie Lin: Communicating in Music

KINETIC is a conductorless ensemble comprised of string players from the Shepherd School, and led by Natalie Lin. With tangible communicative force, KINETIC’s mission is to strengthen communities by creating interactive musical dialogues among performers and audiences alike. To that end, KINETIC will be presenting a “Very Open Rehearsal” to students at H.I.S.D’s Johnston Middle School, exploring what it means to be “conductorless”, and demonstrating how we as chamber musicians communicate with one another, both verbally and artistically, throughout the rehearsal process and in performance. This will be a real, working rehearsal for KINETIC, on a segment of “Concerto for Strings” by the Polish composer, Grażyna Bacewicz, a piece which demonstrates both string virtuosity and the necessity for communication between sections. Following this, we will engage the students in a “side-by-side” playing workshop on a piece suitable for their level, giving the students an immersion experience into chamber music playing in a large ensemble setting.

Andrew Keller and Alexandra Smither:
Gibber"ish": Language, Music, and What Do We Actually Hear?

Music has been described as a universal language, but spoken and sung languages have always held a special connection with music. In 1871 Lewis Carroll wrote the poem The Jabberwocky as part of his novel Through the Looking-Glass and thereby created the genre of literary nonsense or text-sound poetry. This genre  uses language for its sonic capabilities instead of its comprehension in the conventional sense. Twentieth  century composers like Kurt Schwitters, Luciano Berio, and  Stuart Saunders Smith  incorporate literary nonsense into their musical compositions and treat  it similarly to percussion  sound  effects.  

With performances at Houston area schools, we aim to demonstrate how composers used the  music  and text of their time in innovative ways to maximize its artistic potential, along with the use of gibberish as a means of universal communication.

Clare Monfredo and Charlotte Nicholas: The Named Angels
Performances at the Archway Gallery and the Turrell Skyspace

We are excited to bring The Named Angels, a work by Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz, to the Rice community and larger Houston community in order to illuminate the cross-cultural power of music. This piece bridges Islam, Christianity and Judaism through its depictions of common and contrasting figures, “named angels,” in all three religions. Additionally, Fairouz’s inclusion of Middle-Eastern styles in his composition introduces an unusual sonic landscape to western classical music that is important to share. Through presenting this piece to the greater Houston community, we hope to promote religious tolerance and cultural awareness, particularly in the heightened social climate we inhabit today.