Arts & Culture

Music in the Making: Dancing with the Stars

Grab your dancing shoes for this toe-tapping episode.


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On this week's episode of Music in the Making, we're going dancing! From tango to foxtrot, you can dance all evening, with selections from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.

Astor Piazzolla with Bandoneon
Astor Piazzolla with Bandoneon

Astor Piazzolla, arr. Kyoko Yamamoto: Tango Suite

Tali Morgulis (piano)


Moores Opera House

Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla revolutionized the world of tango music, creating a new genre called nuevo tango. In this style, composers fused elements of the traditional dance music with a variety of different styles, including classical and jazz. The Tango Suite, one example of this famed style, was composed by Piazzolla and later arranged for piano by Kyoko Yamamoto.

Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Selections from Symphonic Dances, op. 45

Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra


Stude Concert Hall

In 1940, Rachmaninov began composing a new orchestral piece, which he called "Fantastic Dances." Though he hoped to collaborate with Mikhail Fokine in the creation of a new ballet using the score, the Russian choreographer died prior to the completion of the project. Instead, it's remained a popular orchestral suite, renamed “Symphonic Dances”. We'll hear the first two movements, a sinister march and a melancholy waltz.

1925 Cover of Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"
1925 Cover of Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”

John Harbison: Remembering Gatsby (Foxtrot for Orchestra)

Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra


Stude Concert Hall

Like Rachmaninoff's Dances, John Harbison initially intended the music of "Remembering Gatsby: Foxtrot for Orchestra" for a large-scale production. Sketches initially were intended for an opera based on Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby. Instead, though, the fragments were brought together in this orchestral tone poem, which follows the story line. Harbison, for instance, evokes the sound of a jazz band to create the atmosphere of one of the party scenes.


This episode originally aired Sunday, February 25, 2018. Catch Music in the Making every Sunday at 7:06 PM on Classical.