A Conversation with Julia Bullock about “Perle Noire”

Editors note: This conversation with soprano Julia Bullock was conducted in the summer of 2016, prior to the September 30, 2016 Houston premiere. Edited for the Fall 2020 virtual presentation. How did this project come about? On my debut recital tour in 2014, I performed a program titled “Hommage à...

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Listening Guide: Dafnis Prieto

Since Dafnis Prieto last visited the DACAMERA stage, the Cuban-born drummer, composer, bandleader, educator, and 2011 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow has won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz album and realized a long-standing dream project. Since he arrived in New York City in 1999, Prieto has been expanding his jazz...

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10 Things to Know about Vijay Iyer

Vijay Iyer might be the most interesting man in the world. He’s a pianist, a composer, a bandleader, a writer, and a Harvard professor—but that just scratches the surface of this multidisciplinary talent. Before the Vijay Iyer Sextet heads to DACAMERA on Feb. 29, discover a little bit about the...

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Los Angeles Guitar Quartet: A Listening Guide

On February 21, one of America’s premier instrumental ensembles, the Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet will perform at Wortham Theater Center for DACAMERA’s annual James K. Schooler Memorial Concert. Guitarists Scott Tennant, Matt Greif, John Dearman and William Kanengiser regularly tackle works from baroque to bluegrass and everything between, although...

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Aizuri Quartet on their Music and Isolation program

A note from the Aizuri Quartet on their Music and Isolation program, coming to DACAMERA on Monday, January 27 and Tuesday, January 28: There are times when we find ourselves isolated from the world around us, as did all of the composers featured in our Music and Isolation program. It...

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Branford Marsalis: Program notes by Rick Mitchell

Branford Marsalis comes to Houston for a sold out show on January 25. DACAMERA’s Rick Mitchell spoke to Marsalis and contributed these notes on the program: It’s fair to say that Branford Marsalis has firm ideas about what should and should not be considered jazz. It’s not that he’s opposed...

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Matthew Aucoin on his new string quartet

Composer Matthew Aucoin’s new string quartet was commissioned for the Brentano Quartet by DACAMERA, Carnegie Hall, Union College Concert Series and La Jolla Music Society. It has its Houston premiere on Friday, December 6 when DACAMERA presents Mozart and Aucoin at Hobby Center. What follows are Aucoin’s notes on the...

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Q&A with A Woman’s Life’s Jennifer Johnson Cano

Throughout the past decade Jennifer Johnson Cano has emerged as one of the most thrilling and emotive sopranos currently working. She has notched over 100 performances for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and her repertoire includes both iconic and contemporary works. She returns to DACAMERA to join artistic director...

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Q&A with Blue Note pianist James Francies

James Francies is doing it all. A native Houstonian and HSPVA grad, the keyboard phenom earned major accolades with the release of his debut album, Flight, in 2018. He’s toured and recorded with jazz greats Eric Harland, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Pat Metheny and Chris Potter, among others, and gigged with Ms. Lauryn Hill, Common,...

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The musical history and heritage of Cremona

When we think of Italian cultural centers, cities like Milan, Florence and Naples. But tiny Cremona, in the Lombardy region, can claim one of the most prestigious musical heritages in all of Italy. Since the 12th century, the town has been a musical center, and in the 1600s it achieved...

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John Scofield Exclusive Da Camera Interview

This post is adapted from program notes by Rick Mitchell. For concert information and tickets, click here. The guitar has always inhabited a space a little removed from the jazz mainstream. Because of the lack of amplification necessary for audiences to hear single note solos in concert or on recordings,...

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Chef Robert Del Grande on Julia Child

James Beard Award-winning chef Robert Del Grande is a longtime friend and supporter of Da Camera. His newest venture is The Annie Cafe and Bar, opening September 1. Del Grande shares his recollections of chef Julia Child, the subject of Lee Hoiby’s Bon Appetit! Soprano Abigail Fischer portrays Child in...

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Sarah Rothenberg on Weinberg and Mendelssohn

Da Camera Artistic Director Sarah Rothenberg on the May 10 concert, Weinberg and Mendelssohn: Our season finale brings together two composers who, at first glance, seem to have nothing in common.  Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) is one of the most celebrated composers of classical music, credited with being perhaps the greatest...

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Sarah Rothenberg on John Ashbery

No program on this Da Camera season evokes as many personal memories as tonight’s musical tribute to the great American poet John Ashbery (1927-2017).  Touching on many years of friendship and going back to my earliest days at Da Camera, the phrase that inspired our season theme, “time future contained...

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Dave Douglas’s Dizzy Atmosphere: A Listening Guide

Dave Douglas’s Dizzy Atmosphere boasts an impressive lineup of musicians, several of whom are bandleaders in their own rights. in advance of their Houston performance on April 12, we’re highlighting recordings by Douglas and this talented quintet who will be paying tribute to the legendary Dizzy Gillespie. But first let’s...

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5 Questions for New York Philharmonic String Quartet’s Frank Huang

Frank Huang is destined to be one of Houston’s great musical sons. Arriving in the Bayou City at the age of 7 from Beijing, he quickly set himself apart as a violin virtuoso, performing with the Houston Symphony at 11. His accomplishments include winning the 2003 Walter W. Naumburg Foundation’s...

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A report from the National Arts Strategies Executive Program – Part 2

Brandon Bell is an arts administrator and percussionist. He is director of education and artistic administrator at Da Camera and is an adjunct faculty member at Houston Community College. He is currently writing his dissertation as he completes the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of...

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Sally Beamish, Composer, at home in Glasgow.

5 Questions for Composer Sally Beamish

It would be easier to list the genres of music that Sally Beamish doesn’t work in than all the ones she does. The prolific and British composer has received much acclaim for her concertos, operas, ballets, film scores and choral and orchestral music, and that’s when she’s not performing as...

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A Listening Guide for Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations

Special thanks to Houston Early Music for providing this listening guide for the Friday, March 1 concert with Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations. Jordi Savall, internationally acclaimed viola da gamba virtuoso, makes a highly anticipated return visit to the Houston stage with a program inspired by the 1991...

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ME Travis Sound Energy

A report from the National Arts Strategies Executive Program: Part 1

Brandon Bell is an arts administrator and percussionist. He is director of education and artistic administrator at Da Camera and is an adjunct faculty member at Houston Community College. He is currently writing his dissertation as he completes the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of...

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An Essential Listening Guide to the Music of Chucho Valdés

The word “legendary” hardly seems enough to describe Chucho Valdés. The renowned Cuban musician, composer and bandleader has six Grammy Awards, three Latin Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and has been inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. He...

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Jack DeJohnette: Painting Soundscapes with Music

The list of jazz phenoms Grammy winner Jack DeJohnette has played with over the course of his career reads like a who’s who of the genre’s greatest names. John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk to name a few, and while DeJohnette has crafted a legendary...

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The Richard Goode Primer: Three Must-Listen Pieces by Acclaimed Pianist That Are Better Than Good

Listening to master pianist Richard Goode perform exceeds your regular concert-going experience. Consider it nutrition for the soul. The legendary, Grammy-nominated musician draws praise from critics and fans alike, many of whom laud his light-touch interpretations of Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and others. His perspective and performances of Classical and Romantic...

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Aaron Diehl on Jazz, Rhythm and the Spirit of American Music

Yes, Aaron Diehl is a classically trained pianist with accolades from Wynton Marsalis to The New York Times. And yes, his performance roster includes the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, but he’s more than that. Much more. He’s also an explorer and an interpreter. Diehl delights...

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Da Camera’s essential guide to the music of jazz master Dianne Reeves

As one of the top jazz vocalists for three decades, Dianne Reeves has an incredible catalog that showcases not only her suberb voice but also her knack for interspersing other musical influences, including Afro and Latin beats, into her multifaceted discography. In advance of Reeves’s Da Camera performance on June...

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Poet Adam Zagajewski on Houston, exile and his love of music

Adam Zagajewski is Poland’s most famous living poet, nominated in 2010 for the Nobel Prize in Literature. After two decades spent living in Europe and the United States—including Houston—during the Soviet era, Zagajewski returned to Krakow in 2002. His journey and his longtime collaboration with Da Camera founder Sarah Rothenberg...

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Playing with Utter Honesty: Pianist Helen Sung on Jazz, HSPVA and Tex-Mex

Houston-native Helen Sung‘s journey on the piano began in traditional fashion. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Helen Sung’s music education started with the rigor that one would expect from musicians brought up in the classical music milieu. She had a strict mentor whose teaching style was rooted in the Russian...

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Your Essential Listening Guide to American Pianist Garrick Ohlsson

“You don’t play at the piano, you make the piano your collaborator,” says celebrated American pianist Garrick Ohlsson. But he could just as easily be describing how many musicians feel about performing the music of Beethoven. While the Classical/Romantic composer was very detailed in his score markings, there are myriad ways...

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Mahan Esfahani Is Bringing the Harpsichord Back

Through his groundbreaking career, Mahan Esfahani has re-introduced the harpsichord — that historical instrument best known as a favorite of Bach, and a staple of Renaissance and Baroque musical works — into the mainstream classical and contemporary concert repertoire. Born in Tehran, the Iranian-American musician studied musicology and history at Stanford...

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How Theo Bleckmann Channels Joni Mitchell in “Songs of Freedom”

It’s been 50 years since three ambitious female songwriters and vocalists each individually reshaped the face of popular music, infusing their songs with highly personal takes on race, love, and the politics of the era. To pay homage to the legacy of Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone and Abby Lincoln, Da...

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Baritone Tyler Duncan on the emotional journey of “Winterreise”

Perhaps no work encapsulates the dark shadow of Da Camera’s seasonal theme, “No Place Like Home,” more than Schubert’s Winterreise. Depicting the heart-wrenching journey of a solitary wanderer deprived of shelter or human contact, the song cycle takes on a contemporary resonance in this performance, paired with Lebanon-born Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum’s groundbreaking...

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Go ahead and dance: Your essential listening guide to Tiempo Libre

Da Camera of Houston continues its Jazz Series with three-time Grammy-nominated Afro-Caribbean ensemble Tiempo Libre.  Dubbed a “world class act” by the London Evening Standard and as offering “dance music of sophistication and abandon” by The New York Times, the Latin group offers tunes that fuse jazz, contemporary and Latin...

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From Havana to all over the world: the Gavilán brothers perform together for the first time in years

From Harlem to Havana celebrates artistic diversity, history, and the importance of keeping one’s cultural roots. The performance marks a long-overdue family reunion between music prodigy brothers Ilmar Gavilán, Harlem String Quartet’s first violinist and a founding member, and Aldo Lopez-Gavilán. The brothers grew up in Havana and attended the...

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Interview with pianist Llyr Williams

Presented by Da Camera for his Houston recital debut, Llyr Williams is performing at The Menil Collection on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. The concert is sold out. To join the waiting list, email boxoffice@dacamera.com. Or come to the Menil on Tuesday night and join the standby list; unoccupied seats will...

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A note from the Artistic and General Director: January 2017

Dear friend of Da Camera: 2017 takes off with spectacular music-making at Da Camera. This new year is particularly special for us, as we inaugurate an unprecedented annual event with the first James K. Schooler Memorial Concert on February 16. This is our way of honoring the memory of a...

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In Beethoven’s Footsteps: Elias violinist on upcoming concert

Sara Bitlloch, first violinist of the Elias String Quartet, muses over the program to be performed on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at The Menil Collection. It may be said that Brahms and Bartok followed in Beethoven’s footsteps in their approach to writing music. Our program brings the three composers side-by-side, so...

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Get to know Arturo Sandoval through these videos

The man who has won not one, but ten Grammy Awards—also a six-time Billboard Award winner and 2015 Hispanic Heritage Award recipient—Arturo Sandoval, trumpeter and composer extraordinaire will grace the Houston Da Camera stage January 20, 2017. Sandoval is known around the globe for his dynamic and vivacious performances. He...

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Could you sing alongside Stevie Wonder? Cecile McLorin Salvant muses on creativity, her family and American music

A voice as tenacious as the woman herself. Grammy Award-winner Cecile McLorin Salvant is captivating the jazz world with her powerful performances. Through her music, she explores the history of American music and the connections between jazz, vaudeville, blues and folk music. She is known for singing rarely recorded or forgotten...

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Sarah Rothenberg probes the connections between Picasso and music

In her insightful program notes for the upcoming Picasso and Music, just published on our web site, Sarah Rothenberg teases out the connections between the great artist’s drawings in the exhibition Picasso The Line and the music by Stravinsky and Satie on the program. For example, she writes: “Performing the...

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Composer John Adams on collaborating with St. Lawrence Quartet

The St. Lawrence Quartet has a history of collaboration with master American composer John Adams. They premiered his First Quartet and his Absolute Jest for string quartet and orchestra. (The recording of Absolute Jest was named one of Our 10 Favorite Classical Albums of 2015 by NPR’s deceptive cadence blog.)...

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Picasso The Line Exhibition Open, Concerts Coming Soon

The Menil Collection’s Picasso The Line exhibition opened on September 16, and Houston is taking notice. Houston Public Media covered the exhibition on Arts Insight. See their video featuring an interview with new director Rebecca Rabinow here. Houston Press‘s Randy Tibbits posted an irreverent review of the exhibition, arguing with...

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Thelonious Monk

If you listen to jazz, you are familiar with the work of Thelonious Monk. Famous for his style in both music and wardrobe, the American pianist and composer is the second most recorded jazz artist after Duke Ellington. If you consider that Ellington composed more than 1,000 pieces of music...

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10 Things You Didn’t Know about Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker began her reign in the entertainment industry during the 1920s in Paris. She carried herself with poise. Her exotic beauty and energetic performances allowed for the rise of her celebrity status that has carried on as her legacy —  even after her death in 1975. Born as Freda...

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