April 9, 2015


Vanessa Astros
Senior Director, Communications

(713) 337-8560

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Robert Franz
Bob Dorough


Musical Director and Composer of the TV series, Bob Dorough, to debut as piano soloist and vocalist

Students from Theatre Under the Stars Humphreys School of Musical Theatre to be featured in the program

Associate Conductor Robert Franz to conclude the Family Season with catchy, nostalgic tunes

HOUSTON (April 9, 2015) The Houston Symphony will present the world premiere concert featuring music from the Emmy-Award winning TV series Schoolhouse Rock! for orchestra. The animated musical educational short film and TV series debuted in 1970 and has become a pop culture phenomenon.

Schoolhouse Rock! reached generations of young people across the U.S. in the 70’s and 80’s, instructing children on core academic subjects, such as grammar, history, science and politics, through memorable lyrics and high-energy tunes.

On Saturday, April 25, Bob Dorough – the original composer and musical director of the hit ABC TV series – will perform and sing some of these iconic tunes including “Conjunction Junction,” “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here” and “Figure Eight,” all of which were originally composed and sung by Dorough. Houston Symphony Associate Conductor Robert Franz himself has fond memories of Schoolhouse Rock! and is looking forward to sharing the stage with the composer and arranger of many of the songs.

"I practiced my math skills every Saturday morning with Schoolhouse Rock! growing up. It has always been a childhood fantasy of mine to perform these songs,” said Franz. “When the opportunity presented itself with the Houston Symphony and the creator of many of the Schoolhouse Rock! songs, Bob Dorough, my childhood rushed back to me. These arrangements are all the more special because Bob will be present at the world premiere."

Bob Dorough will be featured in this program as a piano soloist and vocalist, along with his daughter, Aralee Dorough, Houston Symphony principal flute.

The Family Concert Experience

As always, the family concert experience includes in-lobby activities including the Instrument Petting Zoo, crafts and young musician performances. The 50-minute concerts are held on Saturday mornings with two start times, either 10 am or 11:30 am. Lobby activities take place before the 10am performance and after the 11:30 am performance.

Full Concert Details:

Schoolhouse Rock!
Saturday, April 25, 2015, 10:00 am and 11:30 am
Robert Franz, conductor
Bob Dorough, piano soloist and vocalist
Theatre Under The Stars Humphreys School of Musical Theatre
Tickets from $19

Jones Hall
615 Louisiana St.
Houston, TX 77002

About Robert Franz

As Associate Conductor of the Houston Symphony and Music Director of the Boise Philharmonic, Windsor Symphony Orchestra and the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, Robert Franz’s appeal as a first-rate conductor and enthusiastic award-winning educator, is acclaimed by critics and composers alike.

In increasing demand as a guest conductor, Franz’s recent and upcoming appearances include engagements with the Baltimore, Phoenix and St. Louis Symphonies, The Cleveland Orchestra and the Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina in Italy. In Houston, he leads the Symphony in educational and family concerts. His work with students has led to a continuing relationship with Radio Disney. Last season, Robert conducted the orchestra’s 100th anniversary concert; led a family series concert with the Houston Grand Opera, Theater Under the Stars and the Alley Theatre; partnered in a concert for the Anti-Defamation League; and was on the podium for a side-by-side performance of Tchaikovsky’s 6th with the Houston Youth Symphony totaling 150 musicians.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has recognized Robert for his advocacy in arts education. Under his direction, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (2008) and the Louisville Orchestra (2001) were awarded the Leonard Bernstein Award for Educational Programming. He has addressed the Idaho Legislature on the importance of music in education and authored his first children’s book with a CD, Stella’s Magical Musical Tour of America.

He received a master’s degree in conducting and a bachelor’s degree in oboe performance from the North Carolina School of the Arts. Visit

About Bob Dorough

Bob Dorough, born in Arkansas and "raised" in Texas, immediately fell in love with music upon joining the Plainview Texas High School Band. He served three years in a Special Services Army Band Unit, gaining much professional experience as arranger, clarinetist, saxophonist, pianist, and entertainer (1943-45).

After earning a Bachelor Of Music degree at the University of North Texas (1949), he made a bee-line for New York City where he took classes at Columbia University and immersed himself in the volatile jazz scene then taking place there -the BeBop revolution. In 1952 he turned his back on the academic scene to devote himself to jazz performance, specializing in piano/vocals. After years of accompanying, conducting, arranging, and playing, he made his first recording as a leader (1956) for the Bethlehem label....DEVIL MAY CARE, having written the title tune three years earlier. He is known as "the only singer to record with Miles Davis." While this may not be 100% true, he did record two vocals with Davis, in 1962, "Nothing Like You" and "Blue Xmas," both of which he composed. Davis also recorded an instrumental version of Bob's classic song, "Devil May Care," that same year.

In 1971 he received a commission to "set the multiplication tables to music." This led to a small industry, being the beginning of ABC-TV's SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK!, Saturday morning cartoons that entertained and instructed unsuspecting children during the years 1973-1985. The impact of this media exposure was unpredictably immense. The show came back for another five years in the 90's and is now enjoying its 40th anniversary with a DVD edition of the entire, five-subject series, for which Dorough worked as the Musical Director.

In 1995 he signed a contract with the prestigious jazz label - Blue Note Records - and has done three CDs for them ("Right On My Way Home," "Too Much Coffee Man" and "Who's On First").

Now residing in Pennsylvania, he has received honors from that state (the Governor's Artist of the Year Award) and from his native state (the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame.)

In 2002 his trio was chosen to represent the State Department and Kennedy Center, as an Ambassador of Jazz and Blues. The one-month tour saw them play some 22 workshops and concerts in thirteen cities in six different countries.

Currently recording on Arbors, Candid and his own label, Bob Dorough continues to perform, often for children too, in Jazz Clubs and Schools, wherever he can.

About Houston Symphony

During the 2014-15 season, the Houston Symphony enters its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. This season also marks the inaugural year for new Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $29 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 286 performances for 300,000 people, including 82,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit or call (713) 224-7575.