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Music is in the Air!

Music is in the Air!

Society with Ruchi

Confession: While there were no fashion highlights this weekend, music filled the air. The 4th Annual Vista Competition held March 12-19, 2011 came to a close. The competition focused on bringing contemporary opera to Houston with an American-Idol-style competition, for groundbreaking new works by composers from around the world. And Then I Remember : A Documentary Oratorio by Lembit Beecher staged at Bethany Christian Church on Saturday, the closing night in Houston, with Conductor Viswa Subbaraman, Director Joe Carl White and Choreographer Sara Draper.

It was a very sophisticated evening with a house, almost full, of opera and music connoisseurs. Lembit’s music focused on themes of storytelling, memory and nature. And then I Remember was about his grandmother born in Estonia in 1922, telling a story about her experiences in the aftermath of World War I. Overall it was a great festival/competition that garnered several good reviews from local publications and audiences. “Competitions like this give a new meaning to Opera, art, culture and the music scene in Houston,” says a visitor.

The big question: Who is the winner of the Vista Competition 2011? Congrats to Matthew Peterson for his opera, Voir Dire that was declared the 2011 Vista Competition winner. Matthew Peterson writes music for concerts and stage, continuing an American musical tradition. ‘Voir Dire’, translated from old Anglo Norman, meaning “to speak the truth” or to give a true verdict.

At the Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music Phillip Kloeckner, organist and Surendra Talwar, baritone experimented with some new and innovative music. An hour of improvisations that blend, juxtapose and contrast diverse traditions into fresh and provocative music. Faculty and Guest Artist Recital called IMPROVARAGA was hosted at the magnificent Edythe Bates Old Recital Hall and Grand Organ. The idea was to present a twenty-first century exploration of the synergies between two ancient traditions, Eastern and Western. Hindustani ragas with melodic modes.

Present at this relaxed Sunday evening was Manisha Mehta and Bobby Singh from the Indo American Charity Foundation, Houston. Srinivas Koumounduri was on the sitar and Dexter Raghunanan engaged the audience with his tabla.

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