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Press release

Underground Sounds returns to the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

July 31, 2023

Buffalo Bayou Partnership hosts the second annual music series in this unique venue

HOUSTON, TX – Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) is pleased to announce the return of Underground Sounds, a music performance series in the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. Four Houston-based music ensembles will perform works composed or arranged especially for the Cistern and its extraordinary natural acoustics.

The Cistern is a former drinking water reservoir transformed by BBP into a unique public space that houses tours, periodic art installations, and musical performances. Its 221 columns and their dramatic reflection provide a striking visual backdrop, and the 17-second reverberation in this vast underground chamber is an exciting challenge for performers. Underground Sounds gives musicians and composers the opportunity to create site-specific pieces for this local architectural treasure and provides the public with a sonic experience unavailable anywhere else.

Performances will run on select dates from September through November, and tickets are known to sell out quickly. Audiences are encouraged to mark their calendars with the on-sale dates below. 


The 2023 Underground Sounds schedule:

September 14 – 17 | Nameless Sound

Tickets available starting Friday, August 11 at .

  • Nameless Sound will present six unique concerts, each with a different trio of creative musicians collaborating for the first time to explore the special sonic qualities of the Cistern. Each will be a singular experience, never-to-be repeated, that will take audiences on a sonic journey of real-time musical composition. Each concert will feature three short solos, followed by a trio improvisation.


October 5 – 8 | DACAMERA

Tickets available starting Friday, September 8 at 9 a.m.

  • DACAMERA has commissioned Houston composer Mark Buller (an alumnus of the DACAMERA Young Artist Program) to create a new, site-specific work for the Cistern which will be performed by current DACAMERA Young Artists.


October 26 – 29 | Alexandra Smither and Austin Lewellen

Tickets available starting Friday, September 29 at 9 a.m.

  • A collaborative creation between soprano Alexandra Smither and double bassist Austin Lewellen, this program, entitled Ground/Water, will include solo works from Éliane Radigue’s Occam series, complemented by a co-composed work written in collaboration with Houston poet, Aris Kian, that meditates on water and the Cistern and encourages audience participation.


November 9 – 12 | Musiqa

Tickets available starting Friday, October 13 at 9 a.m.

  • This program features the world premiere of a new composition by artist board member Pierre Jalbert that takes advantage of the Cistern’s unique reverberation. Performers include Jacob Schader (violin), Chris Ellis (cello), Nicholas Bissen (saxophone), Sophie Volpe (trombone) and Terry McKinney (percussion).


“We are so excited to invite Houston’s musical talents into the Cistern again,” said Karen Farber, BBP’s Vice President of External Affairs. “This amazing space so clearly calls out for musical experimentation. We look forward to sharing these experiences with the public throughout the fall.”

View the full performance schedule and learn more about Underground Sounds at

Generous support for Underground Sounds provided by The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. BBP is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.





Nameless Sound’s mission is to present the best of international contemporary music and to support the exploration of new methods in arts education. Its concert series has become known for a diverse range of international artists who represent the most important and influential names in music, as well as the emerging cutting-edge. The series features commissions and world-premieres, as well as special projects that entail collaborations between visiting artists and local musicians.


DACAMERA is an internationally recognized producer and presenter of chamber music and jazz, committed to bringing its audiences transformative musical experiences. DACAMERA’s Education and Community Initiatives have received national attention for its Young Artist Program, a professional development program for outstanding musicians that emphasizes community advocacy and brings Young Artist-teachers into classrooms, introducing music into STEM and humanities lessons.


Alexandra Smither and Austin Lewellen are a vocalist/double bass duo. An adventurous performer and one of the CBC’s 2017 “30 Young Hot Classical Musicians Under 30”, Canadian soprano Smither is a fresh fixture on the worldwide stage. From the thorniest contemporary scores to the lyricism of Mozart, Smither brings her artistry and intellect to every engagement. Double bassist Lewellen’s interests lie primarily in the creation of living music, through active collaboration with composers. He is most at home in small ensembles, recording studios, and opera pits, though his technique has a firm grounding in the orchestral tradition of the Common Practice Era.


Led by four composers, Musiqa’s mission is to enrich and inspire their community through programs that integrate new music with other modern art-forms. Each season, Musiqa programs a diverse series of public performances introducing Houston audiences to dynamic and challenging music by contemporary composers, making it one of the most active contemporary music ensembles in the United States.

About Buffalo Bayou Partnership: Established in 1986, Buffalo Bayou Partnership is the non-profit organization creating and stewarding welcoming parks, trails, and unique spaces, connecting Houstonians with the city’s most significant natural waterway. The organization’s geographic focus is the 10-square mile stretch of the bayou that flows from Shepherd Drive, through the heart of downtown into the East End, and onto the Port of Houston Turning Basin. In addition to constructing award-winning green spaces such as Buffalo Bayou Park, BBP also removes trash from the waterway and activates the bayou through unique programs, public art, volunteer events and recreational opportunities that enrich the quality of life in Houston.