We had the good fortune of connecting with Houston Ensemble and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Houston, what role has risk played in your life or career?
When reflecting on the great artists and musicians in history, it’s evident that a level of risk management is necessary to create a lasting impact in culture and make a mark in the industry. Houston Ensemble has embraced the concept of risk from our inception, taking the band into uncharted territories musically and in terms of our business concept.
To create our unique sound and approach, Houston Ensemble combines many areas of interest including multiple genres of music, contemporary and ancient philosophies, literary techniques, and other elements of the liberal arts. We’ve received criticisms and some backlash regarding our aesthetic and general approach to our music, but have emerged from these times of opposition with a stronger resolve to pursue our vision. Taking risks is an integral part of our growth strategy and we’re blessed to have the ambition and means by which to test the creative waters and nurture an enthusiastic community of fans.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Houston Ensemble prides itself on being a renaissance project. Not only are we professional musicians who have studied at the best institutions including Rice University and University of Southern California, Conservatorium van Amsterdam, and University of North Texas, but we are also academics, philosophers, and freethinkers. Our goal is to unite music, art, philosophy, culture, science, and spirituality as all of these things are naturally intertwined. There are so many amazing aspects to life that it would be impossible for us to label ourselves as simply musicians. We are grateful to perform our original compositions throughout Houston, and we have the honor of traveling nationally and internationally.
As part of our renaissance project we produce a podcast that has featured some of the greatest minds and musicians alive today. Some of these names include David Leebron, president of Rice University, Dr. Rick Strassman, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Dr. Joseph Varon, Peter Bernstein, and many more. In order to do all of these things we invest a great amount of time into our endeavors. As individuals dedicated to freedom of thought we are occasionally met with backlash from those who are rigid in their own ideology. This is always an important learning experience for us as it sharpens our minds, grows your perspective, and keeps us truly honest in our critical thinking. We want our music and our conversations to inspire and facilitate the already-commencing shift to higher vibrations.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the United States which makes it a mecca for food, art, music, and international culture. If just arriving in Houston we recommend immediately going to our favorite coffee shop, Mercantile, where we host a jam session every Monday. Once caffeinated, you can explore amazing shopping in the Montrose area specifically on Westheimer. After picking out your best outfit, make sure to wear it to Avant Garden where we host our second jam session on Mondays. Houston’s finest musicians, upcoming stars from around the city, and international legends alike have sat in these jam sessions.
If you’re looking for great bars you can never go wrong with Leon’s Lounge, Houston’s oldest bar. Houston Ensemble hosts Thursday nights at Leon’s which features the greatest talents in the city and welcomes upcoming singers and instrumentalists on stage. Other great bars include 8th Wonder, Poison Girl, and the Flat.
Eventually you’ll need something to eat, and there is a lot to choose from. Some of the best restaurants include Warehouse 72 where our founder and guitarist, Armov, performs every Tuesday from 6-8:30pm, Pine Forest Garden, Golden Grain European general store, and so many more!
After all that, make sure to enjoy the beautiful Centennial gardens, Discovery Green, Memorial Park, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the bustling Main Street downtown. While this may sound like a lot this only scratches the surface of what Houston has to offer. This is truly one of the greatest cities in the world.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We owe it to the brave artists before us who challenged normalized concepts during different eras of civilization and reminded us of the extraordinary power of music. Houston Ensemble understands that music can generate massive change in culture and that with the great power of music comes great responsibility. We recognize that the world is going through a drastic technological and socio-economic shift and we’re excited about making unique music that can steer our generation into a positive direction.
Houston Ensemble was founded by Armen Movsesyan (Armov) and Chad Wesselkamper who shared the same mission: to reinvigorate the live music scene and inspire the next generation of popular music genres. Houston Ensemble is preceded by an epic history of musicians across several centuries, from Bach to Beyoncé, who’ve shaped the sound of music and caused paradigm shifts in the industry. In the spirit of these timeless artists, our aim is to preserve the human pursuit of self-expression by synthesizing genres, challenging technical limits, and stretching lyrical boundaries with an emphasis on freedom of speech.
Claudia Delgado and Ayaan Ahsan