At Houston’s ROCO, women composers are familiar figures

Posted on: November 30, 2018

“Because of the record number of women who were victors in national elections in 1992, it was dubbed The Year of the Woman,” writes William Albright in last Tuesday’s (11/20) Classical Voice North America. “But women made dramatic electoral gains this year, too, and 2018 is also shaping up as a Year of the Woman Composer…. The American Composers Orchestra’s current season is made up almost entirely of works by women composers. [Houston’s] River Oaks Chamber Orchestra … has been promoting women composers as well as new works for more than a decade. Women composers are represented in fully half of this season’s programming and account for a fifth of ROCO’s total repertory…. On November 17 … ROCO presented an all-female-composer program titled ‘Queen of Hearts.’ With … Chicago Sinfonietta music director Mei-Ann Chen deftly shaping and energizing the polished readings, the centuries-spanning lineup featured Anna Clyne’s 2009 Within Her Arms, Ruth Gipps’ 1958 Seascape, Louise Farrenc’s 1847 Symphony No. 3, and Solitaire, a world-premiere commission by Heather Schmidt…. Written to showcase long-time friend and ROCO concertmaster Scott St. John, [Solitaire] is a 16-minute violin concerto awash in soaring, ruminative passion filigreed with lots of motoric fiddling and briefly cleaved by a yearning cadenza.”

Posted November 30, 2018

In photo: On November 17, conductor Mei-Ann Chen led the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in a concert of music by female composers (from left) Louise Farrenc, Ruth Gipps, Heather Schmidt, and Anna Clyne. Schmidt’s concerto was a world premiere.