Houston Symphony Announces 2013-14 Season; Here's What's Not to Miss

Categories: Symphony

Andres Orozco-Estrada (c) Julie Soefer.jpg
Courtesy Houston Symphony
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, the new musical director for the Houston Symphony.
Although some say that metropolitan orchestras are on the decline with symphonies including Philadelphia and Louisville declaring bankruptcy over the past decade, the Houston Symphony is going full steam ahead as it announces its lineup for its action-packed centennial season. Here are the concerts not to miss as the symphony says goodbye to musical director Hans Graf and welcomes newly announced musical director Andrés Orozco-Estrada, whose official debut will be in October 2013.

Centennial 100th Birthday Concert
Friday, June 21, 2013

The first ever performance of the Houston Symphony, sponsored by Houston philanthropist Ima Hogg, was on June 21, 1913. Exactly 100 years later, this kickoff event of the new season will celebrate the centennial milestone by bringing the power of music to all with a free concert in Miller Outdoor Theater. Selections will include popular works such as Beethoven's Ode to Joy, Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, and selections from Holst's The Planets.

Opening Night with Renée Fleming
Saturday, September 7, 2013

Renee Fleming (c) Jonathan Tichler.jpg
Courtesy Houston Symphony
Soprano Renée Fleming
You may know that Renée Fleming is one of the world's greatest sopranos. What you may not know about her, though, is that one of her first big breaks as a soprano was with the Houston Grand Opera's production of The Marriage of Figaro in 1988. In fact, Fleming made numerous appearances in the Houston Grand Opera in the 1995 and 1998 seasons as well.

In case you missed the dazzling Grammy-award winning diva back then, make sure to see her visit to Houston this year as she performs with the Houston Symphony in Jones Hall for the first official performance of the season. Fleming will be performing classical works but will also show off her impressive range with selections from Broadway and songs of today.

Kirill Gerstein: Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto
Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 12, 14, 15, 2013

Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto is a crowning achievement in the world of classical music with its glorious orchestration, dynamic range, and exciting dialogue between piano and orchestra. Russian-American pianist Kirill Gerstein will channel Tchaikovsky's virtuosic and impressive work in September after his well-received performance of Rachmaninoff during the 2012 season.

But the action doesn't end there. This program will also have a slight Italian flavor as it opens with Verdi's overture to La Forza del Destino and concludes with Respighi's triumphant Pines of Rome, a work inspired by the different hills of the ancient city of Rome.

Joshua Bell Returns to Houston
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 20-22, 2013

Josh Bell (c) Chris Lee.jpg
Courtesy Houston Symphony
Violinist Joshua Bell
Virtuoso Joshua Bell came to Houston in 2010 to deliver a spectacular performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, Op. 64. This year he returns as he offers up his interpretation of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, Op. 35, known as one of the most difficult and brilliant works for violin in the entire repertoire.

At the helm of this performance will be conductor Lawrence Foster, previously a musical director of the Houston Symphony from 1971-79. Also on the program are Mussorgsky's Dance of the Persian Maidens and American composer Ralph Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Greensleeves, inspired by the English folk tune.

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