ROCO to premiere Esmail’s “History of Red,” based on text by Chickasaw poet Linda Hogan

Posted on: April 21, 2021

“Arguably the most stirring of colors, red is symbolic of various extremes,” writes Lawrence Elizabeth Knox in Tuesday’s (4/20) Houston Chronicle. “The vibrant hue has a significant history within the existence of humankind, a history that will set the stage for ROCO’s ‘In Concert’ program this weekend [which] will conclude its virtual season with ‘Flamenco,’ a fiery, free concert that will be livestreamed from the Church of St. John the Divine. The hour-long event, led by returning guest conductor Brett Mitchell, will feature the world premiere of ‘The History of Red,’ a co-commission by Indian American composer Reena Esmail based on a powerful text of the same name by Chickasaw poet Linda Hogan that explores the color’s association with life, death and the will to survive…. [Esmail’s] musical setting of the poem showcases soprano Kathryn Mueller as a soloist, who paints a world to which the orchestra responds, whether feeding her own phrases back to her or bringing the essence of the environment in the text to life.” Also on the program will be Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Quinn Mason’s Princesa de la Luna, Errolyn Wallen’s Photography, and Carlos Surinach’s Ritmo Jondo, with dancers from Houston’s Solero Flamenco.