Houston Matters

‘Voices from the Underground’ echo inside the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

Musiqa co-founder Pierre Jalbert’s world-premiere composition was created specifically for the unique underground space.


Courtesy of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership
“Cistern Illuminated” inside the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern.


To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="https://embed.hpm.io/470070/470067" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

After it was rediscovered in 2010 and opened to the public in 2016, the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern has become one of Houston's most unique hidden attractions.

Once the reservoir for the city's drinking water, the cistern is about the size of a football field and a half, and it features the stunning visual sight of 221 columns reflected in water, giving the illusion of a space twice its depth. The cistern also features a 17-second echo, which can be a challenge to the many artists that have been asked to purpose the space for installations and performances.

The Houston new-music organization Musiqa recently presented a world premiere performance of co-founder Pierre Jalbert's composition "Voices from the Underground," a 30-minute musical piece created specifically to be performed in the cistern.

In the audio above, Houston Matters producer Troy Schulze goes inside the cistern to talk with Jalbert about the challenges of composing music for such a unique venue. And Musiqa executive director Tony Barilla previews some of the group's upcoming events.

Troy Schulze

Troy Schulze

Producer, Houston Matters

Troy Schulze is a producer for Houston Matters. He also produces the podcast Party Politics and the digital video series Skyline Sessions. Schulze has been working as a writer and producer in digital media for over 20 years. He has received three Emmy nominations for his work on the TV...

More Information