The Apollo Chamber Players are entering their 15th season with several notches under their belt: five album releases with a sixth due this summer, as well as a few new ones to add: the replacement of their outgoing violist and a Kennedy Center debut for performing Arts.
With the theme “Harmony Connective”, this season is a reminder of all that the group has already achieved and continues to achieve in connecting communities and cultures through globally inspired music.
The crystal anniversary season is akin to a melodic voyage circumnavigating the globe in its musical influences with ports of call in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Apollo Founder and Artistic Director Matthew Detrick predicts that customers will experience the universal language of music as the x-factor that unites across the many styles.
“Our season is inspired by themes of unity, peace, wholeness, and lines of musical interest and interconnection. These ideas can bridge cultural divides and perhaps even political polarization. The arts can keep us connected in some way. That’s ‘connective harmony,’” she said. “The beauty of art is that people can receive your messages but still interpret them in different ways…hopefully, in ways that amplify them and make people empathize more.”
Throughout its exhibit, Apollo will occupy both secular (Rice University, Houston Holocaust Museum, Texas Asia Society) and sacred (Houston First Congregational Church) performance spaces while exploring a variety of themes ranging from experience Asian American, forbidden music, winter holiday traditions and folk songs, all through the unique lens of Apollo.
“There is an interest from my point of view in programming pieces and reaching out to composers with different ideas. I think a lot of it comes from being interested in different genres of music and trying to figure out what classical music means in the 21st century and where it’s going,” said Detrick.
He also credits the multicultural fabric of Houston as an influence on the chamber orchestra.
“It all comes back to Houston. I grew up in a city that wasn’t very diverse in Pennsylvania. Most of the people at my school looked like me. Coming to Houston and living in the world of music provided a fresh start,” added Detrick. “With all the cultural representation that is in Houston, it is inspiring. Houston is the city of the future by many metrics, culturally.”
While Apollo has earned its place as a local staple thanks to Bayou City’s thirst for arts and culture, the group is also hitting the road and bringing their talent and style to destinations familiar and new.
The group will return to Carnegie Hall to play highlights from their 20X2020 project. Launched in 2014 and inspired in part by President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot goal, 20X2020 is an initiative by Apollo to commission 20 new multicultural and folk music-inspired works for the ensemble by the end of 2020.
Apollo will also make his Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts debut in April for a repeat of his February 2023 concert, the expansive, multi-disciplinary MEKONG: SOUL.
Along with the excitement of a new season and new destinations, Apollo will say goodbye to one of his familiar faces. As mentioned above, 10-year ensemble member Whitney Bullock is stepping away from acting, which means the group will spend this season auditioning for her eventual replacement. The team has already whittled down the list of candidates to about two dozen musicians, and will narrow the roster further throughout the season.
“It’s really hard to know how someone is going to work with you in this marriage of four just from videos and other [recorded] media. You really have to work closely with someone, and putting together one of our concert projects will give us a good idea of who may be the best candidate,” she said. “It has been very significant to know that we have a very attractive pool position open that is bringing in top-tier candidates from around the world.”
However, as a season, Detrick believes that the year will be one of celebration.
“During any kind of significant anniversary year, whether it’s with your spouse or with a performing arts organization, the point is to reflect on where you’ve been. Show off some of the highlights from previous years, but then expand on the ideas. and the art that have shaped the organization is where it lands today and where it is going,” he said.
The 15th season of Apollo Chamber Player is as follows:
silk threads7:30 p.m., Saturday, September 10 at Edith Bates Old Recital Hall at Rice University, 6100 Main
**Preview screening Friday, September 9 at 7:30 pm at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, Bayou Theatre, 2700 Bay Area
Wang Jie: Commission for Organ and String Quartet
Shih Hui Chen: returning souls
Queen’s Email: Zeher
Debussy: String Quartet in G minor
- Guests: Daryl Robinson (organ), Wang Jie (composer) and Fred Child (host of performance today)
PROHIBITED: Music7 pm, Saturday, November 12 at the Houston Holocaust Museum, 5401 Caroline
Homayoun Sakhi: Commission for string quartet, rubab and percussion
Erberk Eryilmaz: Unsung popular songs
Prokofiev: String Quartet No. 1
Islam Chipsy: Zaghlala
- Guests: Homayoun Sakhi (composer and performer of rubab) and Aria Cheregosha (viola)
vacation trip7 pm, Saturday, December 17 at First Congregational Church Houston, 10840 Beinhorn
Brian Nabors: Kwanzaa Suite
Isabelle Ganz: A Sephardic Hanukkah
Jovino Santos Net: A Brazilian Christmas Suite
- Guests: Wayne Ashley (tenor) and Isabelle Ganz (composer and performer)
MEKONG: SOUL7:30 pm, Saturday, February 18 at Asia Society Texas, 1370 Southmore
Van-Anh Vo: MEKONG: SOUL
- Guest: Van-Anh, Dan bau (zither), Doy Charnsupgarindr (vocals) and Wayne Ashley (tenor)
we will sing a song, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 13 at Stude Concert Hall at Rice University, 6100 Main
Eve Beglarian: we will sing a song
Rembetika Greek Folk Song Arrangements
J S Bach: Chaccone
- Guests: Eve Beglarian (composer), Arsen Petrosyan (duduk), Pejman Hadadi (percussion), Olympian Dancers of Houston, Andrew Papanicolaou (speaker)
The 15th season of Apollo Chamber Players, “Connective Harmony”, will run from September 2022 to May 2023 in various locations. For tickets or information, call 832-496-9943 or visit apollochamberplayers.org. Season subscriptions range from $150 to $175.