“Texas, Our Texas” Concert, Feb. 19
Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra Showcases New Works By Texas Composers And Performances By Texas Artists
Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, FBSO continues its 25th season with a performance both composed and performed by living composers and artists from Texas. This Sunday, Feb. 19 concert at 2 p.m. at the Stafford Centre is a proud celebration of the expansive range of Texas’ contemporary classical composers, from seasoned to student, with two new works honoring “Texas, Our Texas.”
The first new orchestral work, “Rumba Transfigurada,” is a student commission by Alejandro Basulto, who studies at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston, where he is the assistant director of the ensemble AURA. Originally from Mexico, he holds a degree in Composition from the Conservatorio de las Rosas and graduated in Film Scoring and Orchestra Conducting from the ESMUC in Spain. He is the winner of national and international awards for composition. In 2015, Basulto composed the music for the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra’s accompaniment to AVA’s entry in iMapp Bucharest. Basulto’s music provided the backdrop to a massive display of lights from 104 projectors, illuminating the 60,000 square foot façade of the Palace of Parliament.
The second new work, “A Letter from a Mother to Her Son,” an art song for soprano and orchestra, is a commission from John Grimmett. Just 28 years old, Grimmett is an accomplished composer-lyricist, librettist, playwright and poet who divides his time between Pearland and New York City. In Pearland, he directs the junior high school’s theater group and two other area theatre/arts groups. In New York City, Grimmett is an accomplished and award-winning composer of musical theatre and art songs as well as solo instrumental, chamber, and choral works. His work has been performed internationally by the Washington National Opera as well as at training programs at the University of Houston and New York University, among others.
John comments on his new work, “‘In A Letter from a Mother to Her Son,’ my collaborator Jason Carlson has given me a text where words have staying power. Dismayed over a recent statistic that 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ (and the leading cause of their homelessness is “familial rejection”), Jason and I sought to write a piece about hope, tolerance, and acceptance, three aspects of the human condition needed desperately in today’s trying times. Jason’s text is sparse but emotionally charged, and his text inspires my musical imagination to take flight. I can’t speak yet as to what I think the piece means for anyone else besides myself (I will have a better idea about that after the work is premiered), but I hope ‘A Letter from a Mother to Her Son’ unites many different experiences and perspectives. Relationships are hard work: any mother, father, sister, brother, in-law, or second husband can tell you that. I’m hoping the music — which will be sung beautifully by soprano Britany Lovett under the direction of the brilliant Dominique Royem – will inspire each one of its listeners to think about how much love they put forth in their relationships.”
Completing the “Texas, Our Texas” homage is FBSO’s performance of the award-winning “Push” by Rob Smith, Associate Professor of Music Composition at the University of Houston Moores School of Music, and the director of the AURA Contemporary Ensemble. Originally scored for wind ensemble, this orchestral version of “Push” was commissioned by the Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra, and won the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra’s New Repertoire Award in 2011.
Both of the Houston Music Teacher Association concerto competition winners and the FBSO concerto competition winner will perform during the program. These talented young people are the future of classical music in Texas and beyond. The concert will wrap up with a small group concerto to complete the “artists” part of the celebration.
Concert tickets begin at $15 for adults. Children 12 and under are $5 each, and teens are $10 each. Discounts are available for college students, seniors 55 and over, military personnel and groups of 10 or more. Tickets are available at fbso.org or by calling 281-276-9642.