Visions Take Flight

Visions Take Flight

We have lift-off
Karim Al-Zand
Reena Esmail
Derek Bermel
Anthony DiLorenzo
Marcus Maroney
Catalog Number: 
#1 016
new classical
Grammy nominated

Houston, TX

Release Date: 
Nov 16, 2018
Liner Notes: 
2 CD
One Sheet: 

Houston-based ROCO is one of the most innovative, boundary-pushing ensembles performing today, committed to building new connections to audiences, creating new repertoire and embracing new technology. For their debut album, they asked their musicians to pick their favorite pieces from ROCO’s repertoire, and what rose to the top were five of the orchestra’s then fifty-eight world premiere commissions (now going on seventy-five by the end of the current season).

Music includes Karim Al-Zand’s haunting Visions from Another World, Reena Esmail’s pulsing, unpredictable Teen Murti, Derek Bermel’s tender Murmurations (hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “delightful and often intriguing”), Anthony DiLorenzo’s whimsical Jabberwocky, and Marcus Maroney’s Bartók-inspired Concerto for Chamber Orchestra.

The recording sessions, conducted by Mei-Ann Chen with Grammy-winning producer Blanton Alspaugh, were originally scheduled for August 2017 right when Hurricane Harvey struck, resulting in an eight month delay of the project. The sixth piece, Anthem of Hope: Houston Strong, also by Anthony DiLorenzo, commissioned in honor of the resiliency of the Houston community in the wake of the storm, was added to complete the story of the album.

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

Expanding the repertoire, ROCO has premiered over 75 commissions from living American composers. ROCO embraces technology, with free worldwide concert livestreams and real-time artist commentary via a smartphone app, as well as on-demand recordings of past concerts via the Listening Room. A vital part of the community, ROCO concert DVDs are sent to nursing homes and hospitals to bring music to those immobile communities, and their music education/childcare program attracts multigenerational audiences.

Produced by Blanton Alspaugh who won the 2020 Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Classical for this recording.


"ROCO is known for pushing the limits of the expected, bringing classical music into the mainstream by playing in unlikely spaces and collaborating with unlikely partners."

-Houston Chronicle

“One of the country’s most innovative classical musical ensembles”



“Tonal Evolution: Great New Music That Makes Room For Tunes….[The scores] are all steeped in tonality and built, at least partially, on traditional structural models, but they are also different enough that their composers’ thumbprints shine through.” [FULL ARTICLE] – Allan Kozinn


"Delightfully played, this is a set for moldy figs and newbies to enjoy together without quibble. Well done." [FULL ARTICLE] - Chris Spector


"In the end, though, there’s more than enough substance to make Visions Take Flight an impressive debut. It is unusual to see an orchestra of any size make its first recorded statement a collection of new music, let alone all self-commissioned works. The performances throughout are full of verve and musicality, and the technical quality of the recordings is excellent. One can only hope that ROCO’s next recording will maintain this high level of music-making and devotion to new music." [FULL ARTICLE] - Jeffrey Young


"The composers are young, the oldest of them born in 1967, and their pieces are marked by vitality, imagination, and an approach to composition that resists simple, by-the-numbers categorization...Whether by accident or design, the eighty-eight-minute recording unfolds like an ideal evening concert by the orchestra, with the break between the CDs equivalent to the intermission between the concert's halves." [FULL ARTICLE


"Actually, don’t do that. Just give in. After all, Visions Take Flight is one of those rarest of accomplishments: a contemporary music album that’s a sheer joy to listen to, from start to finish." [FULL ARTICLE] - Jonathan Blumhofer


"The debut album by the large ensemble ROCO is a two disc collection of modern compostions. Edgy strings and dramatic drums are featured on Karim Al-Zand’s “Visions From Another World” with hints of Barber and Bartok crating moods and pulsations during Derek Bermel’s “Murmurations.” A fun narration of Anthony DiLorenzo’s “Jabberwocky” has moments of starlight wonders, whereas his “Anthem of Hope: Houston Strong” is a dedication to the devastation to the Texan City with a soundtrack of a score. Encyclopedic sounds." [FULL ARTICLE


“Performances are top-notch, sound very good. This is a great debut from ROCO!”


 “An impressive debut disc of commissions for Houston’s ROCO ensemble. Plenty of highlights, but Bermel’s stirring Murmurations and DiLorenzo’s colourful Jabberwocky are of particular note.”


"The optimism and resourcefulness of the ensemble musicians of ROCO is transmitted in the character of the beautifully executed pieces here” [FULL ARTICLE] - Filippo Focosi