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Meet Dominique Røyem of Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dominique Røyem.

Dominique, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Through innovative, exciting, and engaging concerts, Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra and Chorus strives to bring a diverse array of music to all ages in Fort Bend County, Texas and beyond. Founded in 1992, FBSO approaches our community as artistic partners, using multi-genre programming to create cultural conversations of value while appealing to a diverse swath of people.

By intentionally curating concerts that initiate conversations about large-scale issues we can reinforce social cohesion, family ties, and individual self-esteem, creating a better quality of life for our community. This produces tools for engagement, encouraging and supporting good citizenship both on the institutional and personal level. Past concerts have celebrated musicians with disabilities, our local first responders, and civic responsibility.

FBSO has a season of concerts and education programs for Fort Bend and the surrounding counties. Our 4 concert subscription series is held at the Stafford Centre and includes a diverse array of music spanning across centuries. FBSO also performs two free, outdoor concerts: the annual Hauntcert, a Halloween themed concert designed for families; and the annual children’s concert.

To commemorate the 25th season, FBSO established the first symphonic choir in Fort Bend County. Comprised of 50 dedicated singers, the FBSOC performs in FBSO symphonic concerts and stand-alone choral concerts. Other opportunities for our singers include an exclusive chamber choir, caroling, and other pop-up and outreach concerts.

As a vital part of FBSO core mission, our educational programming is designed to be inclusive of the diversity within our county. These initiatives include our Marielle Ogletree Young Artist Concerto Competition, where musicians under 18 compete for a chance to play a solo with the orchestra. Our Concert and Sight-Reading competition for private and charter schools, which extends an opportunity for these school to participate in a University Interscholastic League-type contest; Summer Sessions, where people high school age and up join FBSO for a weekend of rehearsals and a performance of classical masterworks; and FBSO @ the Library, an outreach program that pairs FBSO musicians with libraries to create collaborative Storytime experiences.

I became the fourth Music Director in FBSO history for the 2013-2014 season. My first public performance as a conductor was during my undergraduate years. All music performance majors had to take a class in conducting, and at the end of that semester, I was invited to conduct an excerpt from the Brahms Requiem with my University’s chorus and orchestra. After that concert, I was pulled aside by a well-known regional conductor, Dr. Robert Linder, who happened to be in the audience.

Dr. Linder gave me his card and said that we needed to go to coffee because I had a spark that “couldn’t be taught” and should pursue conducting professionally. The next chapter in my life completely diverged from what I had planned and became an adventure beyond what I had ever imagined. I received my Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Houston. I travel around the world to study with master teachers and conduct orchestras across the United States and Europe, along with ensembles in Houston – including FBSO.

Has it been a smooth road?
FBSO is still Fort Bend’s “best-kept secret,” and we are working hard to change that. Support of the arts in the US has sagged in the last decade, and many think it marks the death of symphonic music. FBSO works hard to listen to our community’s needs and wants so we can create programs that meet them. There are members of the classical music world who are uncomfortable with change, and we have to continuously reach out and remind everyone that FBSO’s programming model is based on “and” instead of “or.”

FBSO doesn’t limit programming to the classical music canon, but we don’t exclude it either. We aim to enrich the definition of “symphonic music” as a way to make it accessible to our whole community.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
FBSO is one of the only orchestras in the country who use a multi-genre programming model to prompt cultural conversations of value in our community. This is a direct response to the idea that classical music isn’t for everyone and it is cut off from today’s culture. Classical music seems to be dying because most ensembles do not take the needs of their communities into account when they create and market concerts. Our radical departure from this idea sets us apart.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Houston is an arts city. There is so much support for the arts in Houston! It is a wonderfully collaborative, supportive environment. Every day there are a dozen shows and exhibits of all kinds to see. Every community supports one another – you see dance performances in art galleries, art exhibits at orchestra concerts, and everything in between. It is a wonderful city to create art in, and I feel blessed to be a part of it.


  • Single tickets begin at $15 for adults.
  • Child tickets are $5, and teen tickets are $10.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Shannon Langman, Jon Cooper, Susan Lynch, Coleman Locke, Craig Busch

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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