Mission + History
Led by four composers, Musiqa’s mission is to enrich and inspire the community through programs that integrate new music with other modern art-forms.
With its innovative collaborations and educational programming, Musiqa strives to make modern repertoire accessible and vital to audiences of all ages and musical backgrounds.
Musiqa performed its debut concert at the Rothko Chapel on April 28, 2002. A capacity crowd heard adventurous music by Morton Feldman, Earl Kim, and the first public performance of the poem “Two Suitcases of Children’s Drawings from Terezin,” by celebrated poet Edward Hirsch, which inaugurated Musiqa’s interdisciplinary approach. Invigorated by the success of its debut, Musiqa was incorporated in December 2002.
Since its founding, Musiqa has grown steadily, launching an award-winning education program in 2004 in collaboration with The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, with “Around the World with Musiqa”, an interdisciplinary musical production written by Musiqa composers. In the ensuing twelve years Musiqa added another original production in collaboration with the Alley Theatre, entitled “Musiqa ReMix”. These programs have provided free arts education to over 50,000 public school students from over 230 schools in and around Houston.
Musiqa launched its commissioning program with the work, “Deep Sky Objects”, by Sebastian Currier in 2010. In subsequent years Musiqa commissioned Karim Al-Zand in 2014 to score music for the silent film “Cinderella” with the support of a grant from New Music USA; Anthony Brandt’s chamber opera, “Ulysses, Home” in 2015 with support from the Sarofim Foundation; and Marcus Maroney’s “Earth Music” in 2016 with support from FotoFest. Musiqa also created the Emerging Composer Program in 2014 to provide young composers with mentorship and an opportunities to create new work and build repertoire to be performed by a professional chamber ensemble.
Each season, Musiqa programs a diverse series of public performances introducing Houston audiences to dynamic and challenging music by contemporary composers, making it one of the most active contemporary music ensembles in the United States. Since its founding, Musiqa has presented more than 200 performances — including more than 30 world premieres — and performed the music of over180 modern composers. Our concerts are unique artistic experiences that highlight fresh, modern music by renowned local and national composers paired with another contemporary art form, such as literature, film, theatre, art or dance.
Musiqa’s national honors include: 2013 and 2016 Awards for Adventurous Programming from Chamber Music America/ASCAP—the highest national honor for chamber ensembles—the 2019 Father Eugène Merlet Award for Community Service from Pro Musicis, and numerous awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.