Newsroom

February 6, 2015



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Austin Dressman
PR Coordinator
(713) 337-8557
austin.dressman@houstonsymphony.org

Vanessa Astros
Senior Director, Communications

(713) 337-8560
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Lise de la Salle


FRENCH PIANIST LISE DE LA SALLE MAKES HOUSTON SYMPHONY DEBUT UNDER THE BATON OF DISTINGUISHED AUSTRIAN CONDUCTOR HANS GRAF

Hans Graf, the Houston Symphony’s longest-serving music director, returns to Jones Hall for a performance featuring French rising star Lise de la Salle

HOUSTON (February 6, 2015) – Conductor Laureate Hans Graf returns to Houston on February 20-22, 2015, to lead internationally-acclaimed pianist Lise de la Salle in Graf Conducts Schumann where she will perform Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2.

Inspired by the Rhineland and majestic Cologne Cathedral in Germany, Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, Rhenish, marks Graf’s return to Houston following his 12-year tenure as the Houston Symphony’s music director. "Surely I've spent the greatest years of my musical life here in Houston," the conductor said in one of his final concerts.

Graf will be joined on stage by French pianist Lise de la Salle as she performs Saint-Säens’ Piano Concerto No. 2. A rising star in classical music, The New York Times describes her as “eminently musical,” offering depth as well as virtuosity. Lise de la Salle started playing the piano at the age of four and gave her first concert, broadcast live by Radio France, when she was nine. In just a few years, she has developed an impressive international career performing in major concert halls of Europe, the U.S. and Asia.

A free Prelude pre-concert discussion led by Houston Symphony principal trumpet Mark Hughes will be held 45 minutes prior to each concert at Jones Hall. Hughes will provide insight on what it takes to play Hindemith’s Konzertmusik for Strings and Brass.

HOUSTON SYMPHONY CLASSICAL CONCERT 

Graf Conducts Schumann
Friday, February 20, 2015, 8:00pm
Saturday, February 21, 2015, 8:00pm
Sunday, February 22, 2015, 2:30pm
Hans Graf, conductor and violin
Lise de la Salle, piano
Hindemith: Konzertmusik for Strings and Brass
Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2
Schumann: Symphony No. 3, Rhenish
Tickets from $25

Jones Hall
615 Louisiana St.
Houston, TX 77002

About Lise de la Salle

In just a few years, through her international concert appearances and her award-winning Naïve recordings, 26 year-old Lise de la Salle has established a reputation as one of today's most exciting young artists, and as a musician of uncommon sensibility and maturity. Her playing inspired a Washington Post critic to write, “For much of the concert, the audience had to remember to breathe...the exhilaration didn’t let up for a second until her hands came off the keyboard.”

A native of France, now living in Paris, Ms. de la Salle first came to international attention in 2005, at the age of 16, with a Bach/Liszt recording that was selected as "Recording of the Month" by Gramophone Magazine. Ms. de la Salle, who records exclusively with the label Naïve, was then similarly recognized in 2008 for her recording of Liszt’s, Prokofiev’s and Shostakovich’s first concertos – a remarkable feat for someone only 20 years old. Her most recent recording offers works of Schumann, including Kinderszenen and the C Major Fantasy, which was released in 2014.

Lise de la Salle has played with many of the world's leading orchestras and conductors. She most recently made her London Symphony Orchestra debut with Fabio Luisi, who had invited her to become the first Artist-in-Residence of the Zurich Opera in 2014. Together, they will perform the entire piano and orchestra works of Rachmaninoff. She has also appeared frequently with the Maestro and the Vienna Symphony, including a performance in New York on the Great Performers Series at Lincoln Center. In this country, Ms. de la Salle has played with the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival, San Francisco Symphony and three times with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others. In her second appearance with the Minnesota Orchestra, she played the Gershwin Concerto in F, a performance that inspired one critic to exclaim that “she might just be the most exciting young artist in classical music right now.”

During the 2014-2015 season, Ms. de la Salle will be heard with Jiri Belohlavek and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra and on tour with Sir Neville Marriner and the Staatskapelle Weimar. In the United State she will make her fourth appearance with Vasily Petrenko and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony, Roberto Abbado and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Eugene Tzigane and the New Jersey Symphony.

A sought-after recitalist, she has recently been presented to enthusiastic audiences and critics in major series in New York, Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco, Montreal, Toronto, and at the Philharmonie in Berlin, Wigmore Hall in London and the Louvre in Paris. Ms. de la Salle also takes pleasure in educational outreach and conducts master classes in many of the cities in which she performs.

About Hans Graf

Known for his wide range of repertoire and creative programming, the distinguished Austrian conductor Hans Graf is one of today's most highly respected musicians. Appointed Music Director of the Houston Symphony in 2001, Mr. Graf concluded his tenure in May 2013 and is the longest serving Music Director in the orchestra’s history. He currently holds the title of Conductor Laureate. Prior to his appointment in Houston, he was the Music Director of the Calgary Philharmonic for eight seasons and held the same post with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine for six years. He also led the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra from 1984 to 1994.

Hans Graf is a frequent guest with all of the major North American orchestras. His recent and upcoming guest engagements include appearances with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Boston, San Francisco, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Dallas, Baltimore, Vancouver, Milwaukee and National symphonies and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra among others. Mr. Graf made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Houston Symphony in January 2006 and returned to Carnegie leading the Orchestra of St. Luke's in March 2007. He and the Houston Symphony were re-invited to appear at Carnegie Hall in January 2010, at which time they presented the New York premiere of The Planets—An HD Odyssey, featuring the orchestra playing Holst’s famous work, The Planets, accompanied by exclusive high definition images from NASA’s exploration of the solar system. Mr. Graf and the Houston Symphony returned to Carnegie Hall again in May 2012 to participate in Carnegie’s Spring for Music festival with an all-Shostakovich program.

In Europe, Mr. Graf has conducted the Vienna and London Philharmonics, Vienna Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra as well as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic among others. He is also a regular guest with the Sydney Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Seoul Philharmonic.

During the summer of 2013, Mr. Graf returned to the Salzburg Festival for three different performances, including conducting a new work by Austrian composer Gerhard Wimberger with the Mozarteum Orchestra and leading an unusual, multi-media TV production of Mozart’s The Abduction From the Seraglio with the Camerata Salzburg. He has also participated in other such prestigious European festivals as the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Bregenz and Aix en Provence. His US festival appearances include Tanglewood, Blossom Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and the Grant Park Music Festival in downtown Chicago.

Born near Linz, Hans Graf first studied violin and piano. After receiving diplomas in piano and conducting from the Musikhochschule in Graz, he continued his studies in Italy with Franco Ferrara and Sergui Celibadache and in Russia with Arvid Jansons. Mr. Graf has been awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur by the French government for championing French music around the world as well as the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria. In addition to his conducting activities, he is currently a Professor of Orchestral Conducting at the University Mozarteum Salzburg.

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 www.houstonsymphony.org or call (713) 224-7575.

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