Hope and fellowship are centerstage in ROCO’s February 18 In Concert seriesperformance, Friends Conductorless concert features Texas Premiere of Upon Daybreak, ROCO /New Music USA’s Amplifying Voices co-commission by Brian Raphael Nabors Solo performance by Concertmaster & Artistic Partner Scott St. John

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Hope and fellowship are centerstage in

ROCO’s February 18 In Concert seriesperformance, Friends

Conductorless concert features

Texas Premiere of Upon Daybreak, ROCO /New Music USA’s

Amplifying Voices co-commission by Brian Raphael Nabors

Solo performance by Concertmaster & Artistic Partner Scott St. John

Brian Raphael Nabors; Brockman Opera Hall, Rice University; Scott St. John

ROCO continues its 18th season of exploration with Friends, the penultimate performance of its 2022-23 Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation In Concert Series on February 18, 2023, at Rice University’s Brockman Hall. The culturally rich, curated program highlights the orchestra with a conductorless evening led from the concertmaster chair. With themes of friendship and aspiration, the concert celebrates Black History month while shinging a light on the nationally renowned ensemble’s consistent dedication to community, inclusivity, and diversity.

Opening with the Overture to Jery und Bately, a work by 19th century female composer Ingeborg Bronsart von Schellendorf that paints a musical tableau of beauty and emotion, the program then turns to the Texas Premiere of Brian Raphael Nabors’ contemporary work, Upon Daybreak. One of ROCO’s seven 2022-23 season commissions and co-commissioned as part of New Music USA’s Amplifying Voices (a program dedicated to diversifying repertoire), the work is inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem “A Brave, Startling Truth.” Nabors states, “For many years I’ve sat and contemplated what music in a world without hatred or malice would sound like. I imagine this picturesque utopia with sound that engulfs the listener with abundant joy; an everlasting serenade; an ode of triumph.’’ Following is Dvorak’s popular and melodious Serenade for Strings, which precedes Joachim Raff’s vivacious Sinfonietta. The performance closes with Concertmaster and Artistic Partner Scott St. John performing as soloist on Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s take on the widely known spiritual, Keep Me from Sinking Down for violin and orchestra.

February 18, 2023, at 5:00 p.m.

Brookman Hall for Opera, Rice University

ROCO In Concert: Friends


Jery und Bately: Overture

Brian Raphael NABORS

 Upon Daybreak [Texas Premiere, ROCO Co-Commission]

Antonin DVORAK

Serenade for Strings

Joachim RAFF



Keep me from sinking down

Scott St. John, violin

Tickets: Pay-What-You-Wish

Introduced in fall 2022, ROCO’s latest accessibility initiative ensures that anyone who wants to experience ROCO has the opportunity to do so. Braille and large print programs are also available.

Tickets are available online here.

“Offering audiences a concert experience like that of no other”

— Houston Chronicle

ROCO is a dynamic, innovative professional chamber orchestra that flexes from 1 to 40 players from all over the US and Canada, with guest conductors from around the world. Performing intimate concerts in dozens of venues, ROCO’s musicians do not just give concerts — they challenge pre-conceptions, create extraordinary experiences and foster new relationships with audiences through the language of music.

With over 128 world premieres to date, ROCO is one of the most prolific commissioning organizations in the US. A study in 2019 by the Institute for Composer Diversity found that ROCO was the #1 ensemble in the US performing works by women and #2 for composers of color. ROCO’s debut album, Visions Take Flight, was recognized with a GRAMMY® Award for Producer of the Year, Blanton Alspaugh.

A modern, 21st century ensemble, ROCO embraces technology for the purpose of connection, offering free worldwide concert livestreams and real-time artist commentary via the ROCO Houston app, as well as on-demand audio and video recordings of past concerts via popular music streaming services and our own Listening Room. This spring it presents a new use of technology with its latest book project, combining music, human interaction, reading and technology for multi-generational audiences. ROCO’s innovative QR Code project, ROCO on the Go, enabling instant connection to music in non-traditional spaces, continues to expand throughout Houston and beyond. Locations include Harris County Precinct 2’s parks, Houston Public Library, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Houston, Texas Southern University, and the 5th Ward Cultural Arts District. Reaching 27,000 scans of 250 codes placed in and around Houston, ROCO’s efforts emphasize the connection between music and every aspect of life, with playlists of music from past seasons available for free listening in every possible community. A vital part of the community, ROCO performances are shared with nursing homes and hospitals through concert DVDs to bring music to those immobile communities. The unique ROCOrooters music education and childcare program attracts multi-generational audiences.

Empowering ROCO musicians with the ability to curate their own concerts and connecting them personally to composers and donors is one of ROCO’s unique approaches to the human side of music. It is also just one of the many reasons ROCO is known as an “arts disruptor” and “trailblazer.”

Known as “the most fun you can have with serious music,” ROCO was founded in 2005 by oboist and Juilliard graduate, Alecia Lawyer, who, after multiple experiences in other musical start-ups, recognized the need for a sustainable and thriving model that would focus on authentic connections between musicians and audiences. Her work of “Wildcatting in the Arts” has expanded through a vibrant and multi-talented team that has made ROCO known for its dedication to living and diverse composers, multigenerational audiences, and free access to classical music for all. https://roco.org

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