UH's Aura Delivering 'Multifaceted' Music April 20

Contemporary Ensemble Exploring Heartbeats, Harps, Hymns and More

Houstonians have come to expect bold musical works from the University of Houston’s contemporary ensemble Aura. Audiences should expect no less during “Multifaceted,” a concert showcasing seven unique compositions – including two world premieres.

“Multifaceted” will be performed at 7:30 p.m., April 20 in UH’s Moores Opera House (Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard). Tickets are $12 and $7 for seniors and students. They can be purchased through the Moores online box office.

“We’re taking a theme from each work and looking at all of the facets or angles around it,” said Rob Smith, director of Aura.

Among the composers represented are three UH artists and noted popular music artist Richard Reed Parry from the band Arcade Fire.

Works to be performed include:

  • “Quartet for Heart & Breath” by Richard Reed Parry: This unique piece incorporates stethoscopes so the musicians can perform to the tempo of their heartbeats and breaths, to create a mesmerizing multidimensional texture of rhythm
  • “L’isola di. S. Michele” by David Ashley White, UH professor of composition and music theory: This piece features tenor saxophone (substituted for oboe) and piano and is focused around an ancient hymn.
  • “Tessellations”  (World Premiere) by Adam Beard, UH alumnus and winner of the 2014 Sarofim Composition Competition: This complex piece explores the relationships between three rhythmic values. Performed by flute and piano, this work was commissioned through the Sarofim Competition.
  • “Hinge” (World Premiere) by Blake Wilkins, UH professor of percussion: Wilkins hinges his composition (written for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion) around a constant rhythmic motive. As the music changes, that motive remains intact throughout the piece.
  • “Sonata for Harp and Piano, In One Movement” by Carlos Salzedo: Noted harp composer Salzedo created this piece for harp and piano. The composition takes full advantage of the harp’s musical capabilities and explores the many sounds it can produce.
  • “Choral” by Philippe Hersant: Constructed around a sacred medieval piece, the composition remains consistent but offers changes in harmonies and instrumentation to deliver new perspectives on the final tune.
  • “Diamond in the Rough” by Michael Daugherty: This piece was originally commissioned by Da Camera to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s death. Each of its three movements represents facts and myths from the composer’s life and career.

Led by Smith, UH associate professor of composition, 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 his 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. For more details on the ensemble, visit the AURA website.

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/.