The commissioning of new works is vital to Da Camera's mission. Da Camera has been involved in the commissioning of more than 25 new works by some of the nation’s and the world's leading composers. A particular focus of Da Camera's recent commissioning activity has been The Da Camera Triptych.

The Da Camera Triptych: Rothko, Rauschenberg, Twombly

In celebration of Da Camera's 25th anniversary, Da Camera's ambitious commissioning project invites major composers to respond to three artists that are particularly associated with the Menil Collection: Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly. The first work was Kaija Saariaho's Sombre, commissioned for Rothko Chapel, and premiered in 2013. The second work is Jason Moran's Holed Up: The Rauschenberg Project, which had its world premiere in 2015.

Da Camera Commissioning History

Composer: BRUCE ADOLPHE
Title: ContraDictions
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Maria Lee, cello); Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; October 2, 2002
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; March 14, 2003
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: From the Brentano String Quartet’s Bach Now: 10 Composers React to The Art of The Fugue. Responding to Contrapunctus II. Commissioned by Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium ‡ including Da Camera of Houston.

Title: Fra(nz)g-mentation
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Lee, cello); Reed College, Chamber Music Northwest, Portland; July 9, 2011
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; The Menil Collection, Houston; December 6, 2011
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: Part of the Brentano String Quartet’s Fragments: Connecting Past and Present project. Responding to Schubert’s unfinished Quartet in C Minor, D703. Commissioned by the Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium† including Da Camera of Houston.

Composer: ANTHONY BRANDT
Title: The Birth of Something
Recording: Anthony Brandt: The Birth of Something (Albany)
World premiere: Karol Bennett, soprano; Michael Chioldi, baritone; Enso String Quartet (Maureen Nelson, violin; John Marcus, violin; Robert Brophy, viola; Richard Belcher, cello); Andrea Moore, percussion; Daniel Myssyk, conductor; Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, February 24, 2006
Instrumentation: soprano; baritone; string quartet; percussion
Note: Commission supported by a challenge grant from Nina and Michael Zilkha and the Da Camera Commissioning Club.

Composer: SHIH-HUI CHEN
Title: Shu Shon Key (Remembrance)
World premiere: Broyhill Chamber Ensemble; An Appalachian Summer Festival; Boone, North Carolina; July, 2006
Houston premiere: Aralee Dorough, flute; Meighan Stoops, clarinet; Angela Fuller, violin; Hsin-Yun Huang, viola; Bion Tsang, cello; Mark Griffith, percussion; Sarah Rothenberg, piano; October 23, 2007 at the Menil Collection
Instrumentation: flute; clarinet; violin; viola; cello; percussion; piano
Note: Shu Shon Key was commissioned for Hsin-Yun Huang by Appalachian Summer Festival, Da Camera of Houston, Evergreen Symphony Orchestra and the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts.

Composer: CHOU WEN-CHUNG
Title: Contrapunctus Variabilis I
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Maria Lee, cello); Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; October 2, 2002
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; March 14, 2003
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: From the Brentano String Quartet’s Bach Now: 10 Composers React to The Art of The Fugue. Responding to Contrapunctus VII. Commissioned by Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium‡ including Da Camera of Houston.

Composer: PAUL COOPER
Title: Last Call: Arias and Recitatives of Poems of CE Cooper
World premiere: Carolann Page, soprano; Carol Wincenc, flute; Charles Neidich, clarinet; Eric Halen, violin; Atar Arad, viola; Anthony Ross, cello; Brian Connelly, piano;
The Menil Collection; October 9, 1990
Instrumentation: voice, flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano

Composer: C. CURTIS-SMITH
Title: Christopher the Christ-Bearer
World premiere: Carolann Page, soprano; Jan Opalach, bass-baritone; Carol Wincenc, flute; Todd Palmer, clarinet; Charles Geyer, trumpet; Sergiu Luca, violin ;Norman Fischer, cello; Paul Ellison, doublebass; Pablo Márquez, guitar; John Kinzie, percussion; Brian Connelly, piano; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center, Houston; December 5, 1992
Instrumentation: soprano, bass-baritone, flute, clarinet, trumpet, violin, cello, doublebass, guitar,
percussion, piano

Composer: MICHAEL DOUGHERTY
Title: Diamond in the Rough
World premiere: Eric Halen, violin; Wayne Brooks, viola; Brian Del Signore, percussion;
Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; January 27, 2006
Instrumentation: violin; viola; percussion
Note: Mozart Now Festival Commissions, celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth

Composer: GABRIELLA FRANK
Title: Canto de Harawi: “Amadeoso”
World premiere: Aralee Dorough, flute; David Peck, clarinet; Rodney Waters, piano; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; January 27, 2006
Instrumentation: flute; clarinet; piano
Note: Mozart Now Festival Commissions, celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth

Composer: SOFIA GUBAIDULINA
Title: Reflections on the Theme B-A-C-H
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Maria Lee, cello); Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; October 2, 2002
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; March 14, 2003
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: From the Brentano String Quartet’s Bach Now: 10 Composers React to The Art of The Fugue. Responding to Contrapunctus XVIII (unfinished). Commissioned by Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium‡ including Da Camera of Houston.

Composer: STEPHEN HARTKE
Title: From the Fifth Book
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Lee, cello); Reed College, Chamber Music Northwest, Portland; July 9, 2011
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; The Menil Collection, Houston; December 6, 2011
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: Part of the Brentano String Quartet’s Fragments: Connecting Past and Present project. Responding to Shostakovich’s unfinished Quartet movement. Commissioned by the Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium† including Da Camera of Houston.

Composer: JOHN HARBISON
Title: Finale: Presto
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Lee, cello); Reed College, Chamber Music Northwest, Portland; July 9, 2011
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; The Menil Collection, Houston; December 6, 2011
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: Part of the Brentano String Quartet’s Fragments: Connecting Past and Present project. Responding to Haydn’s unfinished Quartet in D Minor, Op. 103. Commissioned by the Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium† including Da Camera of Houston.

Composer: DAVID HORNE
Title: Subterfuge
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Maria Lee, cello); Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; October 2, 2002
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; March 14, 2003
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: From the Brentano String Quartet’s Bach Now: 10 Composers React to The Art of The Fugue. Responding to Contrapunctus VI (in the French style). Commissioned by Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium‡ including Da Camera of Houston.

Composer: VIJAY IYER
Title: Mozart Effects
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Lee, cello); Reed College, Chamber Music Northwest, Portland; July 9, 2011
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; The Menil Collection, Houston; December 6, 2011
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: Part of the Brentano String Quartet’s Fragments: Connecting Past and Present project. Responding to Mozart’s Quartet fragment in E Minor, K. 417d (1789). Commissioned by the Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium† including Da Camera of Houston.

Title: Time, Place, Action
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Lee, cello); Vijay Iyer, piano; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; February 15, 2014
Instrumentation: piano quintet
Note: Co-commissioned by a consortium including Da Camera of Houston and 92nd St Y.

Composer: PIERRE JALBERT
Title: Fanfare Da Camera
Commissioner: Da Camera of Houston
World premiere: Theresa Hanebury, Jim Vassallo, trumpets; Thomas Hulten, trombone; Cullen Theater, Wortham
Theater Center; September 28, 2012
Instrumentation: trumpet (2); trombone
Note: Commissioned for the Opening Night: 25th Anniversary Celebration

Title: Street Antiphons
Commissioner: Da Camera of Houston
World premiere: Montrose Trio (Jon Kimura Parker, piano; Martin Beaver, violin; Clive Greensmith, cello); Richie Hawley, clarinet; Cullen Theater, Wortham
Theater Center; January 29, 2016
Instrumentation: piano trio; clarinet
Note: Co-commissioned by Da Camera, Boston Chamber Music Society, Voices of Change (Dallas) and Soli Chamber Ensemble (San Antonio)

Composer: DAVID LANG
Title: Rays of the Sun
Commissioner: Da Camera of Houston
World premiere: Brinton Averil Smith, cello; Timothy Pitts, double bass; David Peck, clarinet; Mark Griffith, percussion; Matthew Strauss, percussion; Scott Holshouser, piano; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; January 27, 2006
Instrumentation: cello; double bass; clarinet; percussion (2); piano
Note: Mozart Now Festival Commissions, celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth

Composer: RICHARD LAVENDA
Title: Afterimages
World premiere: Diotima Quartet (Yun-Peng Zhao, violin; Vanessa Szigeti, violin; Franck Chevalier, viola; Pierre Morlet, cello); James Dunham, viola; The Menil Collection, Houston; April 9, 2013
Instrumentation: string quartet; viola
Note:

Composer: STEVEN MACKEY
Title: Lude
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Maria Lee, cello); Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; October 2, 2002
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; March 14, 2003
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: From the Brentano String Quartet’s Bach Now: 10 Composers React to The Art of The Fugue. Responding to Contrapunctus XI. Commissioned by Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium‡ including Da Camera of Houston.

Composer: WYNTON MARSALIS
Title: Fugue
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Maria Lee, cello); Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; October 2, 2002
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; March 14, 2003
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: From the Brentano String Quartet’s Bach Now: 10 Composers React to The Art of The Fugue. Responding to Contrapunctus XII. Commissioned by Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium‡ including Da Camera of Houston.

Composer: NICHOLAS MAW
Title: Intrada
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Maria Lee, cello); Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; October 2, 2002
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; March 14, 2003
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: From the Brentano String Quartet’s Bach Now: 10 Composers React to The Art of The Fugue. Responding to Contrapunctus I. Commissioned by Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium‡ including Da Camera of Houston.

Composer: ELLSWORTH MILBURN
Title: Menil Antiphons
Recording: Ellsworth Milburn
World premiere: Carol Wincenc, flute; Charles Neidich, clarinet; Jesus Reyes, horn; Eric Ruske, horn; Richard Brown, percussion; Brian Connelly, piano; Kenneth Goldsmith, violin; Gary Hoffman, cello; The Menil Collection; April 18, 1989
Instrumentation: flute; clarinet, horn (2); percussion; piano; violin, cello
Note: First piece commissioned by Da Camera and performed during the premiere season.

Composer: JASON MORAN
Title: The Rauschenberg Project: Holed Up
World premiere: Jason Moran and the Bandwagon with special guests Marvin Sewell, guitar and Horace Grigsby, vocals; Wortham Theater Center; February 7, 2015
Note: The commissioning of Holed Up was supported in part by Da Camera's Artistic Development Fund. The world premiere performance was sponsored by Paul and Carolyn Landen and Baker Botts, LLC and supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Homecoming Residency during which Holed Up was created was organized in partnership with the University of Houston Mitchell Center for the Arts and has been made possible by support from the Lynne Murray, Sr. Educational Foundation and Chamber Music America through its Residency Endowment Fund.

Composer: TOBIAS PICKER
Title: Piano Quintet: Live Oaks (2011)
Dedication: Sarah Rothenberg and the Brentano String Quartet
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet; Sarah Rothenberg, piano; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; Houston; September 23, 2011
Instrumentation: string quartet; piano
Note: Made possible by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund. Support was also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Recording: Invisible Lilacs (Tzadik)

Composer: SHULAMIT RAN
Title: Bach – Shards
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Maria Lee, cello); Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; October 2, 2002
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; March 14, 2003
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: From the Brentano String Quartet’s Bach Now: 10 Composers React to The Art of The Fugue. Responding to Contrapunctus X. Commissioned by Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium‡ including Da Camera of Houston.

Composer: POUL RUDERS
Title: Six Romances for viola and piano
World premiere: Hsin-Yun Huang, viola; Sarah Rothenberg, piano; The Juilliard School, New York; October 21, 2011
Instrumentation: viola; piano
Note: Co-commissioned by Hsin-Yun Huang and Da Camera of Houston
Recording: Viola Viola (Bridge)

Composer: KAIJA SAARIAHO
Title: Sombre
World premiere: Daniel Belcher, baritone; Camilla Hoitenga, bass flute; Bridget Kibbey, harp; Matthew Strauss, percussion; Sarah Rothenberg, piano; Rothko Chapel, Houston; February 23, 2013
Instrumentation: baritone, bass flute, harp, percussion, piano
Note: Commissioned by Da Camera as part of the Da Camera Tryptych, three commissions celebrating the 25th anniversaries of Da Camera and The Menil Collection.
Recording: Let the wind speak (Ondine)

Composer: WAYNE SHORTER
Title: Terra Incognita
World premiere: Imani Winds (Valerie Coleman, flute; Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe; Mariam Adam, clarinet; Monica Ellis, bassoon; Jeff Scott, horn); La Jolla Music Society, La Jolla, California; August 18, 2006
Houston premiere: Imani Winds; Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts; Houston, November 3, 2006
Recording: Imani Winds Terra Incognita
Instrumentation: flute; oboe; clarinet; bassoon; horn
Note: Commissioned by La Jolla Music Society, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Da Camera of Houston and the Library of Congress.
Recording: Terra Incognita (E1 Music)

Composer: GEORGE TSONTAKIS
Title: Meditations at Perigee
Recording: Heartsounds: Music of George Tsontakis (Koch)
World premiere: Alan R. Kay, clarinet; David Jolley, horn; Curtis Macomber, violin; Toby Appel, viola; Norman Fischer, cello; Paul Ellison, doublebass; Sarah Rothenberg, piano; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; May 2, 1997
Instrumentation: clarinet; horn; violin; viola; cello; doublebass; piano
Note: Made possible by a grant from Meet the Composer/Reader’s Digest Commissioning Program, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund.

Composer: CHARLES WUORINEN
Title: ALAP
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Maria Lee, cello); Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; October 2, 2002
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; March 14, 2003
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: From the Brentano String Quartet’s Bach Now: 10 Composers React to The Art of The Fugue. Responding to Contrapunctus IX. Commissioned by Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium‡ including Da Camera of Houston.

Title: Ashberyana
Recording: Ashberyana, Fenton Songs (Naxos)
World premiere: Leon Williams, baritone; James Pugh, trombone; Mark Steinberg, violin; David Fulmer, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Maria Lee, cello; Sarah Rothenberg, piano; The Menil Collection, October 11, 2005
Instrumentation: baritone; trombone; string quartet; piano
Note: Ashberyana was commissioned by Da Camera of Houston in 2002 in honor of Sarah Rothenberg’s ten seasons as Artistic Director. Funds for this commission were provided by Chamber Music America’s Commissioning Program, supported by Chamber Music America Endowment Fund. Additional support provided by Works and Process at the Guggenheim and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Title: Marian Tropes
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Lee, cello); Reed College, Chamber Music Northwest, Portland; July 9, 2011
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; The Menil Collection, Houston; December 6, 2011
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: Part of the Brentano String Quartet’s Fragments: Connecting Past and Present project. Responding to fragments of a gloria by Josquin and a kyrie by Dufay. Commissioned by the Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium† including Da Camera of Houston.

Title: Alphabetical Ashbery
World premiere: loadbang (Jeffrey Gavett, bariton; Andy Kozar, trumpet; Will Lang, trombone; Carlos Cordeiro, bass clarinet); The Menil Collection, Houston; April 8, 2014
Instrumentation: baritone voice, trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet
Note: Co-commission

Composer: ERIC ZIVIAN
Title: Double Fugue
World premiere: Brentano String Quartet (Mark Steinberg, violin; Serena Canin, violin; Misha Amory, viola; Nina Maria Lee, cello); Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; October 2, 2002
Houston premiere: Brentano String Quartet; Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center; March 14, 2003
Instrumentation: string quartet
Note: From the Brentano String Quartet’s Bach Now: 10 Composers React to The Art of The Fugue. Responding to Contrapunctus IV. Commissioned by Brentano String Quartet and co-commissioned by a consortium‡ including Da Camera of Houston.

†Consortium for Brentano Fragments project: Caramoor Center for the Arts, Katonah, NY; Carnegie Hall, New York, NY; Chamber Music Northwest, Portland, OR; Chamber Music Society of Detroit with support from Ruth Rattner and Ann and Norman Katz; onStage at Connecticut College, New London, CT; Da Camera of Houston; Fontana Chamber Arts, Kalamazoo, MI; Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL; Luther College, Decorah, IA; Rockport Music, Rockport, MA; Judith and David Falk for Salt Bay Chamberfest, Damariscotta, ME; San Francisco Performances; and Spivey Hall at Clayton State University, Morrow, GA.

‡Consortium for Brentano Bach Now project: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Great Performers at Lincoln Center; Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College, University of Chicago, Middlebury College, Chamber Music Northwest, Caramoor Festival, Da Camera of Houston, the Library of Congress, Spivey Hall, Celebrity Series of Boston, The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Champaign-Urbana and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society