DACAMERA Announces 2024/25 Season of Chamber Music and Jazz Concerts

The season is highlighted by the world premiere of a major work by legendary composer and multi-instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell.

By: Jun. 03, 2024
DACAMERA Announces 2024/25 Season of Chamber Music and Jazz Concerts
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DACAMERA, the Houston-based producer and presenter of chamber music and jazz, has announced its 2024-25 season. The season is highlighted by the world premiere of a major work by legendary composer and multi-instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell.

Co-commissioned by DACAMERA, Mitchell's hourlong Metropolis Trilogy will be performed by daring flutist Emi Ferguson, the acclaimed Immanuel Wilkins Quartet, and the adventurous baroque ensemble Ruckus at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (February 14, 2025).

The first movement of Metropolis Trilogy, 'Lady Moon,' is scored for Emi Ferguson and Ruckus: Doug Balliett (baroque bass, viola da gamba); Elliot Figg (harpsichord, keyboard), Paul Holmes Morton (theorbo, baroque guitar), and Clay Zeller-Townson (baroque bassoon). It moves fluidly between fully notated sections, improvised flute cadenzas, and group improvisation.

The second, 'O'Cayz Corral,' is a fast-paced workout for saxophonist Wilkins with bandmates Micah Thomas (piano), Thomas Morgan (bass), and Kweku Sumbry (percussion), in which two improvised sections are bracketed by meticulously notated music.

The final movement, 'Metropolis at 440 Oakwood Drive,' a true hybrid, features the remarkable trio of saxophone, baroque bassoon, and modern flute, accompanied by both the baroque and jazz rhythm sections. This segment serves as a prelude to the trilogy's surprise element: a card game between the performers. Each player possesses a unique set of cards that prompt them to explore Mitchell's musical language through unmeasured melodic and harmonic material.

The performers have the freedom to "shuffle" and rearrange these musical ideas, thereby shaping the structure of the composition while retaining Mitchell's motivic concepts – a characteristically bold exploration of musical boundaries.

Metropolis Trilogy, produced by NYC's trailblazing Metropolis Ensemble, will share the program with George Lewis's open score Artificial Life and Georg Telemann's Fantasia for solo flute, reimagined for the full ensemble, plus additional Baroque works in new arrangements.

Metropolis Trilogy by Roscoe Mitchell is a co-commission by Metropolis Ensemble, DACAMERA, Emi Ferguson, the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet and Ruckus.

Other featured programs include a two-evening portrait of British composer and pianist Thomas Adès in collaboration with The Menil Collection. Widely regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his generation, Adès will perform his own chamber works with the Calder Quartet and clarinetist Andrew Lowy, interwoven with solo piano pieces by Schubert and Janáček (February 11). He will also appear in conversation with visual artist Tacita Dean, a collaborator on his Grammy award-winning ballet The Dante Project, and DACAMERA Artistic Director Sarah Rothenberg (February 10).

Rothenberg returns to the Menil Collection for the Houston premiere of a major new solo piano work written for her by Tyshawn Sorey, who won the 2024 Pulitzer Prize in Music (March 3 + 4). The new piece looks to be one of Sorey's most expansive compositions to date for any solo instrument. The program, titled 'Transforming Time,' will open with Schoenberg's concise yet sublime Sechs kleine Klavierstücke, Op. 19.

Sorey, a celebrated drummer as well as a composer, performs with the Vijay Iyer Trio at the Wortham Theater Center (March 1). Pianist Iyer, bassist Linda May Han Oh and Sorey have been described as “the best piano trio in jazz today” (Der Spiegel); their music radiates groove and brims with polyrhythmic detail, rooted in tradition yet truly innovative in style and form.

DACAMERA's top-shelf jazz offerings for the 2024-25 season also include the three-time Grammy Award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra, plus drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, pianists Jason Moran, Brad Mehldau, and singer Lizz Wright with their respective bands. Dates appear below.

DACAMERA can always be counted on for thoughtful and stimulating classical programming, and the coming season is no exception. It opens with the DACAMERA debut of the renowned Takács Quartet, appearing with master pianist Jeremy Denk in music by Dvořák, Janáček, and Haydn (September 26). Alexandre Kantorow, the first French pianist to win the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition, also received the Grand Prix, previously awarded only three times in the competition's history. The 2024 Gilmore Award winnier will make his Houston debut in works composed by, and inspired by Liszt (January 28).

Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen's highly distinctive program with pianist John Churchwell includes songs by Black American composers Florence Price and H. Leslie Adams, a new work written for the occasion by Jake Heggie, and Korngold's rarely performed Songs of Farewell (February 24).

The Grammy Award-winning Imani Winds return with pianist Michelle Cann, the recipient of the 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, in a program featuring the Houston premiere of a DACAMERA co-commission by prize-winning American composer Viet Cuong, called “wildly inventive” by The New York Times (January 17).

The remarkable Chiaroscuro Quartet, who perform music of the Classical and early Romantic periods on gut strings and with historical bows, will display their artistry in works of Beethoven and Schubert at the Menil Collection (October 28). Other chamber concerts include the New York Philharmonic String Quartet (February 7), the entrancing Merz Trio (March 31), Finland's internationally successful Meta4 Quartet (April 21), and a performance by the Naumburg Award-winning Telegraph Quartet (December 10).

DACAMERA will present a free event with author Jeremy Eichler, whose recent book Time's Echo, a genre-blurring meditation on music, war and memory, has been named History Book of the Year by The Sunday Times and hailed as “the outstanding music book of this and several years” by The Times Literary Supplement (December 11). The event includes a DACAMERA-curated program of works by composers cited in Eichler's book, performed by the Telegraph Quartet, pianist Sarah Rothenberg, and former and current members of the DACAMERA Young Artist Program.

The Telegraph Quartet will perform works cited in Eichler's book, joined by current and past members of DACAMERA's Young Artist Program and pianist Sarah Rothenberg.

The theme of DACAMERA's 2024-25 season is ALCHEMY: The Magic of Musical Transformation. Notes Artistic Director Sarah Rothenberg, “Every composer inherits a culture, a language, a heritage to which they respond in their own creative voice. Throughout the 2024-25 season, we listen to voices evolve, to generational dialogue, to the magical transformation of what is inherited into something new.

"Time past and time present become one in the hands of a great artist. There are many threads to follow in this concert season. International string quartets, piano virtuosos, jazz greats, leading composers of today. Music inspired by painting, by stories, by personal history. Beyond the electrifying performances, we will also hear the links across time.” 


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