My Top 5: pianist Sarah Rothenberg of Da Camera

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Photo courtesy of Da Camera

Our My Top 5 feature showcases Houstonians who are shaping the culture in the city and impacting people’s lives. In turn, they share their own favorite things to do in Houston when they’re not hard at work. This week, we’re very pleased to feature Sarah Rothenberg, pianist and general director of Da Camera. On Monday, November 14 and Tuesday, November 15, 2016, she presents “Picasso and Music,” a program inspired by The Menil Collection exhibition Picasso The Line.

My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston

by Sarah Rothenberg

  1. Antique Stores on 19th Street – I love going to flea markets, wherever I am, and they are part of my ritual when in France in the summer. When I’m in Houston and have time for a break, I get away from it all by visiting the antique stores on 19th Street in the Heights. The street feels like a small town in the middle of nowhere, and you never know what you may find. While working on A Proust Sonata, I visited these shops with the set designer early on, just for fun, and then came back to find some small props just before the performance.
  2. The Museum District – I think of The Menil Collection, with the Cy Twombly Gallery and the Rothko Chapel, as my spiritual home in Houston. The first time I came here was to perform at the Menil, and it’s what keeps me here. For years I lived in one of the bungalows across the street, and there were quiet weekends when I would go to the Menil several times in the same day. It’s really the best possible break for me from practicing the piano, or any intense work, because I can keep my quiet concentration intact and get some outside inspiration. It’s possible to develop a very personal relationship to that collection. I also frequently visit the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and we have been spoiled recently by such outstanding exhibitions as Mark Rothko: A Retrospective last year and Degas: A New Vision, on view now.
  3. Lunch at Pondicheri Bake Lab or Treebeards – My favorite lunch spot and afternoon hideaway near the office is upstairs at Pondicheri. It manages to feel both charming and have an urban vibe in a way that’s unusual. The soup and kichree lunch is quick and hits the spot, and there are all kinds of healthy and imaginative baked goods. When I’m rehearsing in the Theater District at the Wortham Center, I love taking out-of-town musicians to have real Cajun food for lunch at Treebeards on Historic Market Square in Downtown – catfish, gumbo, and mustard greens. It’s always a huge hit, and there’s nothing like it in New York.
  4. Goode Company Seafood – This is my family’s favorite spot for dinner on Sundays. I have 11-year-old twins and it’s a family tradition that we sit on the train car side and we’ll usually wait if there aren’t seats available. Before we got married, when my husband would fly in from Paris to visit, we would sometimes drive straight from the airport to have oysters and cold beer at the bar.
  5. Revival Market – In my opinion, Houston’s best flat white is at Revival Market in the Heights, and that’s what often gets me going in the mornings. They also have the best pain au chocolat in the world, but they sell out quickly, so you have to get there early.

About Sarah Rothenberg

Pianist Sarah Rothenberg has served as artistic director of Da Camera since 1994 and general director since 2011. She has forged a unique career as performer, writer, and creator of multidisciplinary performances that link music to literature and visual art. On Monday, November 14 and Tuesday, November 15, 2016, she presents “Picasso and Music,” a program inspired by The Menil Collection exhibition Picasso The Line.