Arts Forward, SEP 22

Stay Steeped in the Arts

The first Tuesday of each month, we share Arts Forward, the Performing Arts Houston newsletter. This month, we reveal the 2022 winners of New/Now: The Houston Artist Commissioning Project, announce a wildly entertaining addition to our 22/23 season, and more.

First, a bonus: Single tickets are on sale now for our entire 22/23 season. Every performance from STOMP to Dance Theatre of Harlem. Learn more below about how you can create your own live arts package and save up to 25% off single ticket prices.

Keep reading for—

  • Announcing 2022 New/Now Winners
  • New show! South Korea’s Ak Dang Gwang Chil
  • A Conversation with Cloud Gate Artistic Director CHENG Tsung-lung
  • Create Your Own Live Arts Package
  • A New Partnership with MasterClass
  • Hands On with DIAVOLO
  • Shelf Indulgence—Opportunities for Book Lovers
  • Upcoming Performances


Announcing 2022 New/Now Winners

Advancing a project spotlighting and supporting working Houston artists, Performing Arts Houston announces the winners of the second annual New/Now: The Houston Artist Commissioning Project. The four winners, reflecting the diversity of arts in our city, represent a wide range of artistic genres and cultural backgrounds.

2022 New/Now Winners (in alphabetical order)
Anthony Brandt
J.E. Hernández
Vivalda Ndula
Tazeen Zahida

Each artist has been awarded a commission to create a new 25-minute performance. Winning groups receive a $6,000 cash award, marketing and publicity support, and a full presentation of their new work in Houston’s Theater District. Because creating greater connection through the arts within our communities is a major initiative of the project, the artists will participate in curated engagement programs for the public and Houston area students.

About the Winners

Anthony Brandt is a composer, researcher, author, educator, and Artistic Director of Musiqa, an award-winning new music ensemble. He teaches music composition and theory at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

Brandt’s commissioned work, Diabelli 200, marks the 200th anniversary of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, and in collaboration with neuro-engineer Dr. Pepe Contreras-Vidal, will explore the neural synchrony between the performers and changes in brain activity during the performance.

Composer and cinematographer J.E. Hernández is a Mexican-born, Houston-based artist focusing on elevating personal and cultural narrative. His music has been featured by distinguished organizations such as the Kennedy Center for the Arts, American Opera Project, and American Composers Forum.

Hernández’s new work, Desert Shelter,  is an interdisciplinary work using original music and choreography to highlight the experience of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border via the Sonoran Desert pass.

Born and raised in Luanda, Angola, Vivalda Ndula became one of the voices of the new generation of Angolan musicians that creates a significant cultural and international impact on today’s Angolan music. Ndula is a multi-award-winning singer-songwriter, percussionist, dancer, and activist.

Ndula’s Mbandu ni Mbandumeaning “side by side,” is a music project composed of four pieces sung in Angola’s native language, Kimbundu. Mbandu ni Mbandu examines ongoing social issues and conceptualizes a world where people can live together despite their differences.

Born in Karachi and raised in Saudi Arabia, Tazeen Zahida writes plays in English and Urdu. Her plays are inspired by current affairs, social issues, family dynamics, and her experiences of living in the Middle East and America.

Zahida’s newest theatrical work, And the Clay Pot Speaketh, retells a South Asian folktale about the love story of Sohni and Mahiwal from Punjab. The tragic romance will be told through musical pantomime with narration, supported by South Asian poetry and folk music.

Be the first to see the new.

Join us FEB 24-25 at the Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater for the second annual New/Now World Premieres. All tickets are $25.

The New/Now Commissioning Project is sponsored by sponsored by Cullen Foundation, Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas

All New/Now artist photos by Houston photographer Claire McAdams