Birthday and Season Finale with ROCO

Birthday and Season Finale with ROCOPictured after our last ROCO performance are principal winds (L-R) Brook Ferguson (flute), NW, Kristin Wolfe-Jensen (bassoon), and Alecia Lawyer (oboe and founder of ROCO)

This week marks both the ROCO season finale (May 4) and my birthday (May 2)!  I loved spending my birthday making music with dear friends and colleagues, and what a wonderful program of music this is.  In keeping with the season’s theme, Games People Play, our concert on Saturday is called The Wrestler and features the world premiere of Erberk Eryilmaz’s Wrestling Airs for Two Davuls and Chamber Orchestra, showcasing the festivity and drama of a traditional Turkish wrestling match and written in memory of the legendary 19th century wrestler, Koca Yusuf.  As we discovered in yesterday’s rehearsal, it’s an exciting and rhythmically driven piece that I’m sure everyone will really enjoy.  In case you’re wondering, a davul is a large double-headed drum played with mallets and is commonly used in the Middle East.  It has a deep and resonant quality and is utilized perfectly in this work.  (Erberk also wrote a clarinet concerto for my former student, Ismail Lumanovski, and I’m eager to talk with him later on today about that premiere from a few months ago.)  Other works on the program include Samuel Barber’s wonderful Toccata Festiva, featuring organ soloist Paul Jacobs, Jocelyn Morlock’s Solace for string orchestra (a favorite piece of our returning guest conductor David Danzmayr), and Franz Schubert’s gorgeous and haunting unfinished Symphony No. 10, in a reconstruction by music scholar Brian Newbould.  The woodwinds also have a little trick up our sleeves . . . . .

The concert is on Saturday, May 4 at 5 p.m. at the Church of St. John the Divine:  If you’re in Houston, I hope you can join us in person.  But no matter where you are, you can join us on the live webcast by logging onto

I’m looking forward to bringing this great music to life as we move forward with our rehearsals today.  I’m also looking forward to celebrating with fellow ROCO “babies” Eric Gronfor, Danielle Kuhlmann, and Kristin Wolfe-Jensen, as all of our next journeys around the sun begin during the same week!

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

                                                                                                           —–Oprah Winfrey

Post rehearsal birthday shenanigans with fellow ROCO musicians Kristin Wolfe-Jensen (left, b’day on May 5) and Danielle Kuhlmann (center, b’day on May 1).