Flutist Claire Chase performs at The Menil Collection during Da Camera's Cy Twombly and Music program.

We Might still be living amid a pandemic, but that isn’t slowing Da Camera down. The jazz and chamber music presenter announced its fall season last weekend, and it’s a schedule unlike anything Houstonians have experienced over the organization’s three-plus decades. Why? It’s all virtual.

“When you think of things visually, as we do in so many of our presentations and productions, they translate unusually well to video,” Artistic Director Sarah Rothenberg tells Houstonia. “Thinking virtually means thinking creatively and finding innovative ways of connecting with our audience.”  

Conrad Tao

The organization will continue to present new concerts in a digital format, with pre-concert virtual artist receptions available exclusively for Da Camera patrons. The performances, according to a press release, have been filmed from venues all over the country. Upcoming concerts include an evening with alto-saxophonist Miguel Zenón and pianist Luis Perdomo; an expansive musical odyssey from the mind of pianist Conrad Tao; a performance from Anthony McGill, principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic, and pianist Gloria Chien; and a recital of Franz Schubert’s Winterreise song cycle, featuring Metropolitan Opera baritone Tyler Duncan.

But that’s hardly it. Da Camera is also presenting two new program series, designed especially for this age of Covid. Organized in partnership with The Menil Collection, Hearing Color, Seeing Time performances will take viewers inside the Menil galleries for concerts and discussions about the interconnectivity of music and visual art. While each concert will showcase a different artistic period, the standout on the schedule is December 8’s Cy Twombly and Music. For this performance, Da Camera will be premiering never-before-seen archival footage of flutist Claire Chase inside the Cy Twombly Gallery, including the world premiere of a piece by Erik Ulman, who shared an unusual friendship with Twombly.

Tyshawn Sorey and Julia Bullock performing Perle Noire.

The other new program, Visions of a Century, will premiere broadcast streams of archival Da Camera concerts, including Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine, featuring rising-star soprano Julia Bullock. Called “one of the most important works of art yet to emerge from the era of Black Lives Matter” by The New York Times, the piece examines the life and legacy of Joséphine Baker, with music and arrangements by multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey and texts by poet Claudia Rankine.

All of the programs, with the exception of the new Hearing Color, Seeing Time series, will be available to the general public for one week and to Da Camera members for two weeks. The best part? Da Camera’s fantastic fall offerings are being brought to you free of charge.

“We are realizing there are new opportunities when there are no geographical limits,” says Rothenberg. “And we were pleased over opening weekend to see viewers from all over Texas, from New York, from Boston—and even from Buenos Aires. It’s exciting that colleagues from around the world can tune into our virtual events.” 

More info and registration at dacamera.com. See the full schedule below. 

Da Camera Fall 2020 Season

 

Miguel Zenón and Luis Perdomo Live: Oct 16

Hearing Color, Seeing Time: Hybrid Vigor: Frankenthaler and Ravel: Oct 20

Visions of a Century: Steve Reich’s Different Trains, performed by St. Lawrence String Quartet: Oct 30

Conrad Tao in Recital: Nov 10

Hearing Color, Seeing Time: Music and Time: Feldman in the Ancient Galleries: Nov 17

Anthony McGill and Gloria Chien in Recital: Nov. 21

Hearing Color, Seeing Time: Cy Twombly and Music: Dec 8

Visions of a Century: Tyshawn Sorey: Perle Noire: Dec 11

Visions of a Century: A Stranger I Arrive, A Stranger I Depart: Dec 21

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