Under the direction of Rob Smith, the AURA Contemporary Ensemble is dedicated to theperformance of chamber musiccomposed in the last two decades. In addition to serving as a training ground for performers interested in careers performing contemporary music, the ensemble serves to present students, faculty, and the community with innovative programs that represent the latest classical music trends and styles. Each season, the ensemble presents at least four concerts and premieres two new works by the UH student winners of the annual Sarofim Student Composition Contest.
AURA frequently commissions new works and has brought numerous composers to campus for the performance of their music including Samuel Adler, Javier Alvarez, Stacy Garrop, Kamran Ince, Stephen Montague, Gabriela Ortiz, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Jeffrey Ryan, Joan Tower, and Dan Welcher, among others. Dedicated to collaboration with other disciplines, AURA has presented concerts with student and faculty authors from the Creative Writing and Hispanic Studies departments at UH (With Words), the actor Susan Koozin (Murder Mystery), and several dance ensembles. Most recently, the ensemble has been presenting programs with the Psophonia Dance Company, with an emphasis on thoroughly integrating music and choreography.