Bask in a musical match of wit & talent at ROCO’s world premiere of Checkmate

Photo courtesy of River Oaks Chamber Orchestra

Catch the launch of ROCO’s 2018-19 Concert Series with two performances of Checkmate at Miller Outdoor Theatre on Friday, September 21, 2018, and at The Church of St. John the Divine on Saturday, September 22, 2018.

River Oaks Chamber Orchestra’s (ROCO) 40-piece ensemble, comprised of all-star musicians, will jump-start the weekend of festivities with a free performance Friday night at Miller Outdoor Theatre in the Museum District.

The following evening, ROCO will present a more intimate performance at The Church of St. John the Divine in River Oaks.


The show marks the world premiere of Maxime Goulet’s Checkmate, a chess game for piano and orchestra based on the legendary 1996 match where IBM’s Deep Blue computer defeated reigning world champion, Garry Kasparov.

The piano part (played by the singular Lara Downes) represents Kasparov while the orchestra plays the part of Deep Blue, with custom animation from Creative Bearings of the actual match projected above the stage in real-time.

ROCO principals Kristin Wolfe Jensen on bassoon and Nathan Williams on clarinet are the featured soloists on Mendelssohn’s Concert Piece No. 1 in F minor, op. 113. Conductor Paul Watkins, cellist with the Emerson String Quartet, will lead the program (which also includes the U.S. premiere of a piece from his brother, British composer Huw Watkins). Works by Schubert and Martinů round out the program.

Lara Downes | Photo courtesy of River Oaks Chamber Orchestra

About ROCO

River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) is a dynamic and innovative professional chamber music ensemble that flexes from 1 to 40 players from all over the US and Canada, with guest artists from around the world.

Expanding the repertoire, ROCO has premiered over 65 commissions from living American composers. Performing intimate concerts in dozens of venues, ROCO’s musicians don’t just give concerts – they challenge preconceptions, create extraordinary experiences, and foster new relationships with audiences through the language of music.

ROCO in Concert presents Checkmate

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