Friday, March 08, 2002

The Cyber Scene in Houston ~ by Tamar Alexis Fleishman

Mix sublimely cool techs, passionate musicians, with "everything is bigger in Texas" and what do you get? The Boyce Consultancy [] hosting a gala celebrating the fifth anniversary of Virtuosi of Houston. Dr. Meherwan P. Boyce, P.E., is one of the world's foremost consultants in management and technology optimization for the petrochemical and power industries. Dr. Boyce introduced on-line real time performance monitoring of major machinery in refineries, chemical plants, power plants, and offshore platforms. His lovely wife, Zarine, is a powerhouse on several nonprofit Boards (darling, we don't refer to them as "charities" anymore); she and the doctor are reinvigorated members of Virtuosi's Executive Committee.

The youth chamber ensemble [ ] - the only such group of its kind - - has been wowing audiences with its professional caliber and challenging programming. This is not the gymnasium band recital you may remember from your teen years. Indeed, these local prodigies range from age 12 to 18, and have gone on to music programs at University of Houston's Moores School of Music, Oberlin, Interlochen, and the Eastman School of Music.

You do know to call a conductor "Maestro", don't you? Well, both Virtuosi of Houston's Maestros were at the party in full force. Andrzej Grabiec, a native of Poland, is also a violinist whose achievements include being a Prizewinner at the world-renowned Wieniawski Violin Competition, and performances before President George Bush, Senator Howard Baker and German Consul General Wolfgang Moser. Franz Anton Krager, an American, has many honors himself, including current Directorships at the University of Houston, the Texas Music Festival, Great Britain's Orchestra of the Swan, and a Lectureship at Italy's Italart Santa Chiara Study Center.

What's a dinner party without the dinner? After gloved waiters passed hors d'oeuvres, guests enjoyed the seafood crepes with saffron and dill sauce, chicken with Cajun spices and mushroon/spinach cream sauce, tomato risotto with beef, sausage and petite poids, as well as the decadent chocolate cake with rum chocolates in a "cloud". Coffee and liqueurs were served afterwards.

The Board of Directors oversees an annual Concerto Competition Scholarship; funds are restricted for use towards a new instrument, music lessons, music camp or future college-level musical education. As any parent or teacher can tell you, music is not a cheap talent to nurture. The grants, ranging from $500 to $2,500, have been much appreciated.