UH Aura Contemporary Ensemble Delivering 'Set In Stone' Feb. 18

Rock-Themed Works, World Premiere Compositions Performed at UH's Moores Opera House

The University of Houston’s AURA Contemporary Ensemble will deliver a rock solid collection of compositions during its next performance at UH. “Set In Stone” will present world premiere music and pieces that explore nature’s hardest substance.

“Set In Stone” will be performed at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 18 in UH’s Moores Opera House (Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard). Directed by Rob Smith and Michelle Perrin Blair, AURA will spotlight works from prolific contemporary composers and rising musicians at UH’s Moores School of Music. Special guests include composer Brian P. Herrington and cellist Daniel Saenz.

Tickets are $12 and $7 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, call 713-743-3313 or visit www.music.uh.edu.

Selections to be performed include:

  • “Kukulakan II” by David Dzubay: This piece conjures images of Mayan rituals that took place at the temple for which the composition is named.
  • “Light and Stone” by Anna Weesner: The composition suggests light gathering deep in the center of rock.
  • “Rock and Roll” by Eric Stokes: Actual river stones and gravel are used during the performance.
  • “New Work” by Desmond Ikegwuonu: (World premiere)
  • A Circle of Stone” by Brian Herrington: (World premiere)

A native of Texas, Herrington’s works have been performed by ensembles such as the BBC Singers and London’s Royal Academy Symphony Orchestra. His talents have earned him the First Music Award and Haynes Prize in Composition.

Saenz grew up in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and has performed throughout the U.S., Central America, Japan and Europe. He is a faculty member at Sam Houston State University, where he teaches cello and directs chamber music. At the university, Saenz founded the International Cello Festival and Clinic.

AURA is dedicated to the performance of contemporary chamber music, with an emphasis on works that represent the trends and styles of the last two decades. Under Smith’s direction, the ensemble performs a wide variety of American and international composers’ works. Noted artists such as Samuel Adler, Richard Rodney Bennett, Stephen Montague, Joan Tower and Dan Welcher have visited campus to hear AURA’s interpretations of their compositions. The ensemble is also dedicated to collaboration with dance and has presented many concerts with the UH Dance Ensemble and the Sandra Organ Dance Company.

The Moores School of Music is one of the premier music schools in America. Offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, it serves approximately 600 students annually. Areas of study include composition, conducting, performance, theory and musicology. Its faculty consists of internationally recognized performers, composers and scholars. Among its ensembles are the Moores School Symphony Orchestra, Moores Jazz Ensemble, Moores Opera Center, Concert Chorale, Concert Women’s Chorus, Spirit of Houston Cougar Marching Band, Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. A majority of the school’s concerts are performed in the 800-seat Moores Opera House. For more details on the Moores School of Music, visit http://www.music.uh.edu/.