Classical Music

Water And Butterflies With The Houston Cecilia Chamber Choir

A conversation with Houston Cecilia Chamber Choir Artistic Director Mark Marotto about their upcoming concert featuring all works by contemporary composers.

The Houston Cecilia Chamber Choir
The Houston Cecilia Chamber Choir in 2015

“I find whether it’s my students at college where I direct choirs or community groups that I’m working with, when I give them works by these composers there’s this immediate connection that happens,” says Artistic Director Mark Marotto about the composers featured in the upcoming concert by the Houston Cecilia Chamber Choir.

Butterfly Dreams and Water Shadows will feature choral music by John Tavener, Eric Whitacre, Paul Mealor, and others, with two works featuring saxophone performed by Reese Burgan, Adjunct Professor of Saxophone at Lone Star College.

The central piece of the concert is John Tavener’s Butterfly Dreams: “a collection of meditations [that] draws on texts by Native Americans, a Chinese philosopher, haikus… the central movement [was] written by Pavel Friedmann, one of the child victims in the Holocaust,” says Marotto. That work is paired with Lori Laitman’s I Never Saw Another Butterfly, the title of which comes from the same text by Friedmann, and exclusively uses poetry by Holocaust victims.

On his approach to programming this concert, Marotto says “what I really love about this program is that, more than just beautiful music, it’s music with a message. It captures an important part of history.” Hear my conversation with Mark above where we discuss the works on the concert, the accessible styles of the featured composers, and the group’s dedication to contemporary choral music.

Butterfly Dreams and Water Shadows is 7 PM this Saturday, April 1st at Grace Presbyterian Church. Go to the Houston Cecilia Chamber Choir website for more information.

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