“Last Thursday marked the official New York debut of the Houston-based River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO), an innovative, 14-year-old ensemble here performing in an innovative, ancient space—the subterranean recesses at the Church of the Intercession in Manhattan’s Hamilton Heights,” writes Bruce Hodges in Wednesday’s (10/24) Musical America (subscription required). “The concert was one of the so-called Crypt Sessions, here attended by roughly 50 lucky souls (living, as opposed to those interred nearby) who assembled for wine and cheese before the concert … The Sessions website, cheekily dubbed deathofclassical.com, includes details on presenter Andrew Ousley’s other cellar series … in the catacombs of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery…. A flexible ensemble of between one and 40, ROCO made the most of the room, using just give players in a concert lasting rough an hour. Their artistry, and the sly, convivial banter of the group’s founder, oboist, and artistic director, Alecia Lawyer, transformed the slightly chilly setting into a warm, inviting salon.” Works were by living composers Bill Douglas, Alyssa Morris, Heather Schmidt, Kevin Lau, and Anthony DiLorenzo. In addition to Lawyer, ROCO musicians at the concert were violinist Scott St. John, pianist Kevin Lau, bassoonist Kristen Wolfe Jensen, and clarinet player Nathan Williams.
Posted October 26, 2018