AURA - University of Houston
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Rob Smith
Professor of Composition
Division Head of Composition
Director of AURA Contemporary Ensemble
phone:  713 - 743-3163
email:  robsmith@
office: MSM 327

Through the presentation of programs that represent the latest classical music styles and trends, AURA prepares musicians for careers that involve the performance of contemporary music. Dedicated to creating an innovative concert experience, the ensemble frequently collaborates with artists from other disciplines including actors, authors, choreographers and dancers, and utilizes theatrical lighting, projections and video in their performances.  

AURA Events

Aura produces and performs curated world premieres, commissioned works, and student composed commissions annually in a variety of performance spaces at the Moores School of Music and in venues in the greater Houston area. Established in 2010, the Aura Contemporary Ensemble has produced nine previous seasons and incorporated collaboration across art genres. 


Interested students should contact the director. Assignments for string, wind and percussion performers are determined through orchestra/wind ensemble auditions held at the beginning of each semester. Pianists and vocalists are assigned through consultation with applied faculty. AURA's core instrumentation is flute, clarinet, violin, cello, two pianos and percussion, although additional instruments, such as viola and saxophone, are often included.


Piano Division

Our program immerses students in the art of solo piano performance, collaborative piano and piano pedagogy, preparing them to embark upon rewarding journeys in the world of music. 

Percussion Division

The Moores School of Music percussion division provides an intensive and comprehensive program of study built on a total percussion perspective. We boast one of the finest and most extensive collections of percussion instruments in the country 


Strings Division

Committed to excellence, our internationally renowned string faculty provides our students with an outstanding and personal educational experience. Global in scope, we pride ourselves on educating our students with the necessary skills to succeed in a diverse and modern musical landscape


Winds Division

The Moores School of Music winds division is served by nationally and internationally recognized faculty and provides a total musical learning environment through progressive curricula designed to support musical career aspirations in performance, education and the arts.