Houston Community News >> Houston's River Oaks Chamber Orchestra Performance

4/17/2008 Houston— Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, the American decorative arts center of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, continues a series of outdoor musical events with a performance by the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 4. The highlight of the concert is a new work by Houston composer Brad Sayles, conducted by Joel Smirnoff, and featuring narration by National Public Radio show host John Lienhard. The performance at Bayou Bend is part of the world premiere weekend for the composition. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. for a preview reception; visitors can enter the central hall of the mansion and stroll through the gardens.

In the last two years, the historic 14-acre estate at 1 Westcott Street has hosted outdoor jazz and opera performances under the stars in its elegant Diana Garden. The 40-piece River Oaks Chamber Orchestra will perform under a tent with seating for 500.

The concert, the final offering of ROCO’s 2007-2008 season, features Sayles’ Echoes of Invention—for Narrator and Orchestra, which is based on Lienhard’s Engines of Our Ingenuity, a radio program about culture and human creativity. The show is produced by Houston’s KUHF-FM and broadcast weekdays by over 30 National Public Radio affiliates nationwide. Sayles has written music for the program for two years. Also on the program is Maurice Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, an orchestral suite dedicated to the memory of friends Ravel lost during World War I.

The River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, now in its third season, was founded by Alecia Lawyer, also principal oboist, to provide audiences with a unique approach to classical music. The programs include traditional and commissioned pieces, surprise pieces not listed in the program, Take 5—ROCO’s variation on intermission in which the musicians interact with the audience, and collaborations with visual artists.

Bayou Bend, the former home of visionary philanthropist and collector Miss Ima Hogg (1882-1975), is a particularly fitting backdrop for a concert performance. Music was one of Miss Hogg’s many passions. An accomplished pianist, she was instrumental in founding the Houston Symphony, and frequently hosted symphony performances at her home.

The house, designed in 1927, was converted into a museum, and opened to the public, with its extensive gardens, in 1966. The Bayou Bend Collection comprises more than 5,000 works, including furniture, paintings, metals, ceramics, glass, and textiles, and is one of the nation’s premier holdings of American art and antiques. The collection is displayed in more than 20 room settings that trace the evolution of style in America from the colonial period to the mid-19th century. Since acquiring Bayou Bend in 1957, the MFAH has continued to refine and enhance the collection with new acquisitions, adding hundred of objects to the holdings.

Concert admission and directions
Tickets to the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra concert at Bayou Bend are $25 for the general public, $20 for MFAH and ROCO members, and $10 for students. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 713-665-2700 or visit www.rocohouston.org.

Bayou Bend is located just minutes from downtown Houston at 1 Westcott Street off of Memorial Drive.