Two Star Symphony is Houston’s “most unusual music ensemble”. Composing and performing all-original music in quartet, quintet 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 inspired by their influences, which include: Dr. Dre, cartoons, hauntings, skulls, graveyards, black cats, Dominic Walsh, Danny Elfman and Tom Waits. The band works differently than most classical ensembles in that every member is also a composer. Songs are written and arranged collaboratively as a group, with each player responsible for his or own parts. By the time the songs are finished, the music is memorized. Two Star does not create sheet music, so the player is free to focus on listening rather than reading. This allows them to play in the dark, which is advantageous for theater and dance. They also have a unique way of scoring silent films that allows them to react to the screen rather than having their eyes on their music. Two Star has released six albums.
Two Star Symphony has a history of collaboration with other artists and mediums. Two Star has created original works with: American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre, Whim W’him Dance Company, Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theater, The Museum of Fine Arts and The University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance.
2004 – created original score for Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theater’s Danse Macabre I
2005 – commissioned by MFAH to score silent film shorts for Unseen Cinema
2005 – created original score for Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theater’s Danse Macabre II
2006 – commissioned by MFAH to score the silent film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
2006 – created original score for Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theater’s Danse Macabre III
2007 – original score commission – Good Woman of Setzuan (University of Houston Theatre of School and Dance)
2008 – one of “15 Reasons to Visit Houston” (Houston Visitor’s Bureau)
2008 – created full length score for Dominic Walsh Dance’s Titus Andronicus
2008 & 2010 – commissioned by Rice University to create the two part Synesthesia series
2009, 2010 and 2014 – Best Indefinable Band (Houston Press Music Awards)
2010 & 2011 – SXSW performer
2010 – Featured speaker/performer at TedX Houston
2010 – commissioned by Discovery Green to score the silent film, Girl Shy
2010 – PBS feature (national) in conjunction with Two Star’s SXSW appearance
2011 – original score for Psychic Experiment, a Lionsgate Film
2011 – commissioned by Discovery Green to score the silent film, Steamboat Bill
2011 – partnered with Fat Tony to benefit the Red Cross of Japan
2012 – Best Local Album for Titus Andronicus (Houston Chronicle)
2012 – Artist of the Year (Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts)
2012 – performed with Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra
2012 – performed with DJ Spooky
2012 – created and performed an original score for Silent Shadow of the Bat Man
2013 – Music Video of the Year for The Ninth Level (Houston Press)
2016 – commission by Whim W’him Dance Company in Seattle for The Ghost Behind Me
Chris Bakos (upright bass) Chris 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 has produced sound designs for Infernal Bridegroom Productions, Stages Repertory Theatre, Main Street Theater, and most currently Catastrophic Theatre. Chris has his BA in music from University of Houston’s Moores School of Music.
Debra Brown (violin) Debra has collaborated with artists, dancers, puppeteers, actors and filmmakers. She is currently writing and performing with Two Star Symphony as a founding member.
Bonnie Diggs (violin) Bonnie studied at Loyola University of New Orleans where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Performance. As a student in the studio of Amy Thiaville, she held principle and concertmaster positions with both the Loyola Symphony Orchestra and Loyola Chamber Orchestra. During her time at Loyola, she continued to work with and volunteer with GNOYO as a stage manager and rehearsal assistant. In 2010 she substituted for Midori, rehearsing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with GNOYO. Her senior year in high school and freshman year of college, Bonnie was introducted to Michel Zaitzeff, a previous student of Josef Gingold. With and invitation from Professor Zaitzeff, Bonnie studied two summer semesters at Indiana University Bloomington with a focus in Orchestral Studies. There, she worked under the baton of Maestro Clifford Colnot as well as numerous up-and-coming conductors.
John Duboise (clarinet, oboe, piano) John 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 Theater, Theatre Iluminata, and The Catastrophic Theatre. John plays the clarinet, tenor saxophone, guitar and piano. John received a Diverse Works Residency for his original compositions inspired by Edward Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies.
Margaret Lejeune (cello/toy piano) Margaret began playing instruments at the age of four. In addition to cello, she also enjoys playing harp, marimba, piano, steel drum, accordion and oboe. Her influences include Danny Elfman and Dr. Dre. Margaret is the main force behind Two Star Symphony and is a founding memBill Tackett (viola)
Jerry Ochoa (violin – emeritus member) Jerry has been playing the violin since the age of three. After attending The High School for the Visual and Performing Arts, he studied film and tv production at UT Austin. In 2010, Jerry spoke and performed at the inaugural TedX Houston Conference. In 2011, he was awarded an HAA Individual Artist Grant. In 2012, The Houston Press named him as one of Houston’s 100 Creatives. In 2013, The Ninth Level, a music video he produced and directed for Two Star, was named the local music Video of the Year by The Houston Press. Jerry has won numerous awards for his films and videos. For more information visit jerryochoa.com
Cathy Power (accordion, marimba, glockenspiel, flute, ukulele, percussion) 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, being recognized with Two Star by TALA as 2012’s Artist of the Year and winning Best Original Song in 2009 and Best Sound Design in 2010 working as a composer with Hot Pixel Action for Houston’s 48 Hour Film Project.
Kirk Suddreath (drums) Kirk is an accompanist at Houston Ballet Academy, MET and Viticca Dance Project. He is a member of The Catastrophic Orchestra and was a member of Infernal Bridegroom Production’s company and orchestra before that. He plays the trap set and uses many traditional instruments and also nontraditional found items to create a diverse and unique sound that is more orchestral than pop band. Kirk has been playing with Two Star Symphony for over ten years. Over his career Kirk has played with many different groups and participated in many theatrical productions including but not limited to: The Defenestration Unit, The Julian Jaynes, Different Kind of Monkey and Two Star Symphony.
Bill Tackett (viola) William Tackett earned his BM in Viola Performance at Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory. While there he acted as the Conducting Apprentice for the Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Ensemble under Dwight Oltman. In 2012, Mr. Tackett received his MM in Orchestral Conducting from Florida State University studying with Alexander Jiménez. At FSU, Mr. Tackett served as the inaugural music director for the Campus Orchestra, an ensemble for non-music majors, and as the music director for performance of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat with text by Kurt Vonnegut in collaboration with the School of Dance and the School of Theater. As a recipient of the Ansbacher Fellowship in 2011, Mr. Tackett has also had the opportunity to work with musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic on a Children’s Concert during the Salzburg Festpiel.