Classical Music

Budding Talent, Vibrant Space Amplify Classical Music With ECHO

The Energy Corridor of Houston Orchestra is taking the stage yet again to offer musical excellence.
The Energy Corridor of Houston Orchestra is taking the stage yet again to offer musical excellence. Photo by Friedhelm Luening
The notes will be heavenly and high flying as the Energy Corridor of Houston Orchestra continues its fifth season with Classical Masterworks. Nearly 60 musicians who live in or work in the area will take to the newly renovated St. John Vianney Catholic Church at 625 Nottingham Oaks Trail at 7:30 p.m. Friday to play a collection of the finest music of the period.

"We will feature the most challenging and most renowned classical music. This year, we’re really excited because we’re in a new venue," said the organization's Conductor/Musical Director Mike Fahey. "It’s been newly renovated, and it is just beautiful and acoustically lovely. We tried to pick music that will fill that space with sound."

Highlights of the evening will include Camille Saint-Saens' "Finale" from Symphony No. 3, Beethoven’s "Egmont Overture," Mozart’s "Laudate Dominum" and "Alleluja."

The first half ends with Friedrich Smetana’s "Vltava" (or "The Moldau”), which Fahey describes as a musical feast for the ears that tells the story of two tributaries that join to create mountain stream, the scenes it meanders through, and its eventual destiny to become a mighty river.

"It’s a very programatic work, so people will enjoy that they can picture things that are happening. I’ll give them verbal cues to picture all that," Fahey said. "I think people enjoy the fact that I talk with the audience and give them a background for the music. It feels like they’re in their own living room."

As a featured guest, the winner of the organization's second annual Young Artist Concerto Competition, David Kim, will make an appearance in the program to perform Tchaikovsky’s "Pezzo Capriccioso, Op. 62." Kim is a sophomore at Clear Lake High School and is a highly accomplished cellist who has studied under Courtenay Vandiver Peiera.

"People will be amazed by the soloist. He’s dazzling in his virtuosity," Fahey said. "He’s an amazing young man, a cellist of the highest caliber. He bested 12 other very highly qualified competitors."
This young musician will thrill the audience with his skills on the cello.
Photo by Jiyoen Koh

He grew up in a musical family with siblings who play piano and violin. His mother, with her own love of music, had ambitions for creating something bigger through her family.

Kim said, "My mom wanted to make a mini-quartet with us, and she needed a bass, so she made me take cello. She forced me to practice, but after a while, I got to love it. Now, I practice whenever I can."

The effort paid off. He has played for 9 years, placed second in Virtuosi of Houston’s Concerto Competition, was the principal cellist in Region 17 and made all-state orchestra. With such promise already underneath his belt, Kim sees the very real possibility of creating a career out of his music and has plans of how he wants to achieve that feat.

"To do that, I must take small steps. Next year, I’m planning to attend 10 or so competitions to get the experience I need. Once I get to the college level, I want to compete on the international level. Hopefully orchestras will take notice of me, I can play with them and then become a soloist," he said.

Adding to the amount of talent that will be on stage, another big star of the evening is the church and its organ. The church's Senior Organist Clayton Roberts will grace the pedals and keys as guest accompaniment for the Saint-Saens piece. And if the first half ends with a musical spectacle, the ending of the second half will rival in comparison.

"We’re ending the concert with a piece for the orchestra and church organ featuring the principal organ of the church. It’s kind of a concerto for organ and orchestra," Fahey said. "That organ is just amazing. The organ pipes surround half the church, and when you have that combined with the symphony orchestra, it’s a heavenly sound."

Overall, Fahey describes the night as an evening that will showcase some of the finest musicians in Houston playing some of the best music ever composed - all at an affordable price.

He said, "This will be enjoyable. Some of it will be familiar, and all of it will be interesting. It’s in a newly remodeled church with one of the main goals of improving the acoustics. It’s one of the most beautiful holy spaces in Houston, and it’s one of the best for acoustic music."

Classical Masterworks' doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 625 Nottingham Oaks Trail. For information, visit Tickets are $10 online, $12 at the door, and children 12 and under are free.
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Sam Byrd is a freelance contributor to the Houston Press who loves to take in all of Houston’s sights, sounds, food and fun. He also loves helping others to discover Houston’s rich culture.
Contact: Sam Byrd