Arts & Culture

River Oaks Chamber Orchestra Presents World Premiere

Music based on the program of John Lienhard's Engines of Our Ingenuity

The River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) will proudly present the World Premiere of Brad Sayles' Echoes of Invention for Narrator and Orchestra on Saturday, May 3rd at 5 p.m. at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church. A second concert will be performed on Sunday May 4th at 6:30 p.m. at the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's American decorative and fine arts center. The premiere is based on John Lienhard's popular series "Engines of our Ingenuity" and the main theme is "Ghost in the Book." Joel Smirnoff will conduct. Like Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait, this new piece will overlay John Lienhard's exploration of spirits with Sayles' music.

“John (Lienhard) wrote the script and mapped it out.” said Composer Brad Sayles, “I wove the narration into the composition, underscoring the action of the story.”

The work is a collaboration, one that has been ongoing for Sayles and Lienhard. Sayles works with KUHF and “Engines of Our Ingenuity,” and he has created the music for the last three CDs related to Lienhard’s show. Sayles is an award-winning composer who has also collaborated with Alecia Lawyer, ROCO’s founder and principal oboist, on a film score.

“When Brad and I worked on Echoes of Innocence, I knew that I wanted him to compose a piece for us,” said Alecia Lawyer, ROCO founder and principal oboist. “Basing it on John’s show which highlights inventive minds seemed to fit, and collaborating with various aspects of the local arts community was very appealing.”

Concert specifics are:

  • Saturday, May 3, 2008 — 5 p.m., St. John the Divine Episcopal Church
  • Sunday, May 4, 2008 — 6:30 p.m., Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
  • Joel Smirnoff, conductor
  • The program: World Premiere of Brad Sayles’ Echoes of Invention for Narrator and Orchestra,
    and Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin
  • Tickets are available at or by contacting (713) 665-2700.