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Two Star Symphony is Houston’s most unusual music ensemble. Composing and performing all-original music in quartet and octet configurations, Two Star brings modern instrumental music to a wide range of audiences, from classical music enthusiasts to first time listeners.
Two Star Symphony’s dark, distinctive sound is a result of the writing style they employ and the instruments on which they perform. The band works differently than most classical ensembles in that every member is also a composer. Songs are written and arranged live as a group, with each player responsible for his or her own parts. By the time the songs are finished, the music is memorized. Two Star does not create or use sheet music, so the player is free to focus on the other members and overall sound of the piece.
Two Star Symphony is known for collaborating with other artists and mediums. In that spirit, Two Star has created original works with American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre, BobbinDoctrin Puppet Theatre, and many others. Under commission from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Discovery Green Park, Two Star Symphony created and performed a series of original scores to classic silent films. In 2007, The University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance premiered Two Star’s original musical soundtrack to Bertolt Brecht’s Good Woman of Setzuan. In 2008, Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre premiered Two Star Symphony’s first full-length ballet score to an original production of Titus Andronicus. In 2008 and 2010, Rice University partnered with Two Star to create the two-part Synesthesia series – an exploration of light and sound, featuring an array of lighting- systems paired with live music and performance. In spring 2011, Two Star Symphony partnered with hip-hop artist Fat Tony for a crossover performance that benefited Red Cross of Japan.
Two Star Symphony won “Best Indefinable Band” at the Houston Press Music Awards in 2009, 2010, and again in 2014. They performed at the 2010 and 2011 SXSW Music Festival, and were featured speakers and performers at the 2010 TEDxHouston conference. Also in 2010, PBS broadcast a national feature about Two Star Symphony in conjunction with the SXSW appearance. On December 10, 2011, Lionsgate Films released Psychic Experiment, a horror feature scored by Two Star. In January 2012, The Houston Chronicle named Two Star’s Titus Andronicus the best local album of 2011. In 2012, Two Star performed with Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra and accompanied DJ Spooky at a live performance. October 2012 saw Two Star perform their new original score live alongside the world premiere of “Silent Shadow of the Bat-Man”, a film by Andre Perkowski. In December 2013, Two Star’s first music video, The Ninth Level, was named Music Video of the Year by the Houston Press.
The Greater Houston Convention and Business Bureau has named Two Star Symphony one of 15 reasons to visit Houston (2008). They have received coverage ranging from the Houston Chronicle, Houston Press and Austin Chronicle to the Huffington Post, New York Times and Spin Magazine.
Jo Bird (viola, toy piano, marimba) works as an award-winning musician, crafter and artist. As a musician, Bird has gained renowned for her original compositions and performances with Two Star Symphony, Fiddle Witch, I Am Mesmer and others. As a visual artist, Bird has been exhibited in galleries and shows across Houston. Her mediums include working on canvas as well as wood and rock. She has collaborated with filmmakers to create stop-motion videos and dancers to create original performance art pieces. Jo Bird is a native of Houston, TX.
Margaret Lejeune (cello/harp/toy piano) began playing instruments at the age of 4. She likes to write music based on the cartoons in her head, and performs on instruments like cello, harp, marimba and piano to do so. Her instrument repertoire now includes steel drum, accordian and oboe. She is Two Star’s secret weapon. Margaret’s biggest influences include Danny Elfman and Dr. Dre.
Jerry Ochoa (violin) has been playing the violin since the age of 3. After attending the High School for Performing and Visual Arts, he studied film & TV production at UT Austin. Since he met Two Star in January 2003, he has been privileged to have many amazing adventures and performances. In 2010, Jerry spoke and performed with Two Star at the inaugural TEDxHouston conference. In 2011, he was awarded a HAA Individual Artist grant. In 2012, the Houston Press named him as one of their Top 100 Creatives in Houston. In 2013, The Ninth Level, a music video Jerry produced & directed for Two Star, was named the Local Music Video of the Year by the Houston Press.
As a producer, camera operator and editor, he has worked for The Discovery Channel, TLC, NBC, Universal Records and more. As a director, his original work has appeared on PBS, the Austin Music Network, Much Music, and film festivals including SXSW, Houston Cinema Arts Fest, Action On Film International Fest Los Angeles, The New York Independent Film Fest, Unreal Film Fest, and the Molins de Rei Horror Film Festival in Barcelona, Spain.
Debra Brown (violin) Debra’s musical journey began in 2001 when she was asked to make creepy noises for an upcoming dance performance by the Easy Credit Dance Theater in Houston Texas. Debra recently gifted with a violin was great at horrible disturbing sounds. She really enjoyed performing and being part of a creative force so she began writing music. In 2002 after an opportunity to acquire free ice cream at an open mic night, Two Star Symphony was born. Through this musical ensemble Debra has collaborated with artists, dancers, puppeteers, actors, and film makers. Brown is currently writing and performing with Two Star and hopes to continue to do so for a very long time.
Cathy Power is a multi-instrumentalist and singer. Cathy often composes and performs with Two Star Symphony when they play as an eight piece band. She also performs and records with the band, Merel and Tony. Cathy was a company member with the theater group, Infernal Bridegroom Productions for over ten years and currently works with The Catastrophic Theatre as a member of The Catastrophic Orchestra. Among the many highlights of her career are playing Laurie in Speeding Motorcycle, a rock opera based on the life and work of Daniel Johnston, being named “Best Spectacle” in 2001 by the Houston Press for her work as a performance artist, being a musical presenter at TedX Houston, being recognized by The Houston Press along with Two Star several times in their annual music awards, and winning awards two years in a row working as a composer with Hot Pixel Action for Houston’s 48 Hour Film Project.
Chris Bakos is a critically acclaimed sound designer and musician. In his over 25 year career, he has won numerous awards from The Houston Press for his work as a musician. He has also composed music for This American Life. He currently plays and composes with Two Star Symphony, a group dedicated to producing and performing original film scores for silent movies. He also plays with the band, Merel and Tony. He has produced sound designs for Infernal Bridegroom Productions, Stages Repertory Theatre, Main Street Theater, and most currently Catastrophic Theatre. Chris was recognized in 2013 by The Houston Press as one of Houston’s 100 Creatives. Chris has his BA in music from University of Houston’s Moores School of Music.
John Duboise has been composing, arranging and performing music for various bands and theater groups for the past decade. Bands, past and present, include: Chairs to Mend, The Infernal Bridegroom Orchestra, The Misfires, Two Star Symphony, The Defenestration Unit, and The Julian Jaynes. Theater groups include: Infernal Bridegroom Productions, Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre, Theatre Illuminata, and The Catastrophic Theatre. John plays the clarinet, tenor saxophone, guitar, and piano.
Kirk Suddreath is a drummer/percussionist that has played in Houston for many years. Past and current projects include The Mushroom Tribe, Different Kind of Monkey, The Infernal Bridegroom Orchestra, The Misfires, The Magic Bullets, Two Star Symphony, The Defenestration Unit, The Catastrophic Theatre, and The Julian Jaynes.