UH's Aura Exploring New Musical Perspectives with 'Vantage Point'

Concert to Feature Provocative Works Feb. 16 in Moores Opera House

University of Houston ensemble Aura is consistently exploring related themes within contemporary, cutting-edge compositions. For its latest concert, Aura has assembled five bold works that express a variety of social and cultural viewpoints.

For its next performance, Aura will offer audiences a musical “Vantage Point” into different subjects. From mass media to mass transit, works will push musical boundaries while navigating narratives that resonate with contemporary audiences.

“Vantage Point” will be performed at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 16 in UH’s Moores Opera House (Entrance 16 off of Cullen Boulevard).

Tickets for “Vantage Point” are $12 and $7 for seniors and students. To purchase advance tickets, visit the Moores online box office.

Selections to be performed include:

  • “Different Trains” by Steve Reich: This Grammy-winning piece was originally performed by the Kronos Quartet. Inspired by the composer’s many cross-country train journeys, as well as the rail cars that carried Holocaust prisoners to concentration camps, the piece incorporates sampled voice tracks over a string-quartet.
  • “Techno-Parade” by Guiiaume Connesson: This pop-infused work (featuring piano, clarinet and flute) is influenced by the Techno-Parades of Germany – processions of vehicles blasting electronic music.
  • “Three Pieces in Crystal” by Lee Gannon: Each movement of this composition represents a different crystal. Composer Gannon used music to capture the essence of crystals that are symbolic of the body and human essence: amethyst (mind, intellect), citrine (solar plexus, soul) and rose quartz (heart, love).
  • “Come Down Heavy” by Evan Chambers: Based on international folk songs, the piece offers audiences perspectives from various cultures. Guest performers include UH professor and saxophonist Dan Gelok and his wife, violinist Ming Gelok.
  • “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (World Premiere) by Mark Buller: Buller is a recent winner of the Sarofim Composition Award and a doctoral candidate at UH’s Moores School of Music. This new piece is written for piano and percussion.

“New works such as the one written by Mark (Buller) are very important,” said Rob Smith, Aura director and Moores School of Music professor. “They expand listeners’ minds and are critical in keeping contemporary chamber music alive and well in the 21st century.”

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/.