Houston Matters

Why A Los Angeles Choral Group Is Singing About Houston

Producer Joshua Zinn spoke with composer Ellen Reid and librettist Sarah LaBrie about their new work “dreams of the new world,” which examines the idea of the American Dream through three prominent American cities, including Houston.

The dreams of the new world creative team: Sayd Randle, Ellen Reid, and Sarah LaBrie.

The idea of the American Dream is a concept that has meant different things at different points in our country’s history. For composer Ellen Reid, her new work dreams of the new world examines the idea of the American Dream through three prominent American cities, including Houston.

The outer movements focus on Memphis in 1890 and Los Angeles in 2018, respectively. And the second movement hones in on Houston in 1970 during the oil boom of that era.

Reid, along with her collaborator and librettist Sarah LaBrie, journeyed to Houston with researcher Sayd Randle to gather stories and anecdotes from people who worked in Houston’s oil and gas industry in the 70s.

They then used the text from those interviews to form the final piece. Ahead of the work’s premiere on May 13, Houston Matters producer Joshua Zinn spoke with Reid and LaBrie about the kinds of stories they heard and how they evoked Houston through music and words.

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